Plenty of robots look terrifying, but when it comes right down to it, the most unsettling part always comes from their movement: They're just creepy sculptures, until they start jerking around, crab-walking down the stairs, and devouring your dog to fuel their sinister engines. Here are seven robots you just have to see in action to appreciate, and by "appreciate," I of course mean "nuke from orbit before they can mobilize and turn against us":
These are the Swarm-bots, and really, you don't need to know anything else to judge them. At no point in history has the term 'swarm' been applied to something pleasant -- you don't buy your kids "a swarm of ice cream cones," and you don't receive "a swarm of blowjobs" -- it's always something that wants to sting you, kill you, and lay eggs in your inexplicably-still-screaming corpse. The Swarm-bots are no exception to the rule: Built by Intelligent Design Systems, the same collective that brought us robots who learned how to lie, poison and murder (as covered in the sexiest tome of knowledge ever collected,) the Swarm-bots are seen here demonstrating their teamwork and problem solving skills. IDS figured the best way to really illustrate the implications of robots learning these lessons was to videotape them ganging up on, and then dragging away a terrified child.
"Intelligent Design Systems: We ain't front; our robots eat kids."
The girl was bribed into participating in the Swarm-bot demonstration, but it's obvious she doesn't want that Barbie anymore - her only Earthly desire at this point is to not be pulled away and deconstructed into her base elements to build other Swarm-bots. But she's going to learn a hard lesson about life, because that's exactly what's going to happen here. Look at the expression of terror on the girl's face at about 2:30: She's clearly been paralyzed or drugged somehow, left aware but unable to move or cry out. This video isn't a "demonstration of concept," it's a slow motion techno-Mayan sacrifice.
Researchers at Japan's Tohoku University went and built a robot designed after a millipede. That's not "beginning with good intentions and accidentally unleashing a horror," that's starting right off at creepy then hopping onto the Terror Expressway: Millipedes are infamous solely for their gross and unsettling locomotion, undulating along, like they do, on their thousand scrabbling little legs. So you went ahead and built a robot that does that too, except it's also eight meters long, translucent, and hairy. What was your business proposal? "Gentlemen, I want to take the worst elements of giant snakes, deep sea creatures, and spiders, then build a robot out of them!" And when they asked toward what end -- what possible use could one have for this flailing robo-tentacle raping machine - you had the balls to answer: "Rescue!"
"Revenge against my bitch of an ex-wife! She'll never forget that COCKtail party! MWAHAHA...I mean...uh...rescue!"
The Millipede Bot (or Active Scope System) has a camera built into the head, and is meant to snake it's way through the rubble left behind by earthquakes to locate trapped survivors. The first thing they tell you, should you ever find yourself trapped in an enclosed space, is not to panic; you'll just make it worse.
...and then they send the Squirming Avatar of Panic to crawl out of the cracks in the darkness and writhe all over your body while you wait to be dug out. Presumably while the rescuers take bets on how long it'll take you to hyperventilate all the oxygen out of the room and die of asphyxiation.
Robotic movements are so unsettling because the 'bots are mimicking motions typically reserved for living creatures, and something is just fundamentally off with their execution. There's usually no greater horror waiting to fully dawn on you at a later time, settling like a sheet of existential dread over your frontal lobes as you lie awake in the wee hours of the morning. Not so with the Distributed Flight Array, designed by ETH Zurich's Institute for Dynamics Systems and Control. Sure, there's something a little disturbing about their hyper-agile hovering ballet:
But the true terror on display here is more of a creeping thing. It comes on when you realize that the robots grow stronger, faster, more agile, and more stable as they connect together. One solo flight platform is shaky and slow, but soon it will join up with others, and others, and on and on to infinity - there is literally no limit to how many of these robots can band together into a vast flying blanket of cold, unfeeling, mechanical evil. It's kind of like Voltron...if Voltron were made up of an infinite amount of lions.
Oh, and fun fact: Even if you do manage to take a few out, they're designed to isolate and compensate for the dead or damaged units until such time as they can call up and swap in new ones, thus ensuring that they will never, ever have to cease chopping at your entrails. Not even for a second.
"Aw, look at the cute lil' robot! Mary, come look at this! It's like a little Wall-E and wha - what's it doing? No. No! Mary, quick, up that tree! Is it...it's growing! But how?! Keep climbing, Mary! For the love of God, why won't it stop?! This is impossible! This can't happen! Did it eat physics?! Higher, Mary, higher! What, that's the top? Oh. That's it, then. That's all we can do. And it's still coming. It's laughing in the face of all that we know about the universe, but it. Is. Still. Coming. Mary, I'm afraid this is it for us. There's something I've always wanted to tell you, darling: I nailed your sister. At the wedding. What's that? My brother? Ha ha, you're magnificent! Yes, yes I'll save you a seat in hell, beloved."