The 7 Creepiest Robots to See in Action
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":
Swarm-botsThese 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."
Millipede BotResearchers 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!"
Voltron CoptersRobotic 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:
Extending Bot"Aw, look at the
Robot HandsUntil now, I would never have thought it possible to dribble with terrifying efficiency. When you first see Ishikawa Hashimoto Laboratory's Multi-fingered Robot Hands in motion, it looks like somebody designed and built a nerd-bot. It just spazzes out and flails frantically whenever a ball is tossed in its direction. Then the footage slows down, and you realize that even if the Harlem Globetrotters were right, and Armageddon
Related: The 7 Creepiest Old School Robots
Limbless...Fucking...Torso Bot?!The Telenoid R1 Telepresence Robot is ostensibly meant to help busy Japanese families visit with their elderly parents in a more personal way, by mimicking their body language and facial expressions during phone calls. This should go without saying, but if you're the type of person who can't be assed to make it out to grandma's for the weekend, the next logical step is not moving a robot into their house that looks like Michael Stipe fucked a seal and somebody botched the abortion. Watch that video: The whole time it's flopping and nodding up there, you know it's just waiting for the old man to turn his back so it can crawl into one of his orifices and take control of his body. Oh, and in case you didn't think it could get worse, here's what it looks like when you actually get a call:
Every Single Thing Boston Dynamics Has Ever DoneYou might recognize the name Boston Dynamics from one of their earlier creations, Big Dog: The very first robot to turn the mere act of walking into nightmare fuel. If not,
Whatever the hell this is, I'm sure nobody will ever regret giving it "extra speed."Picture it: It's a foggy night, and you're on your way home from the late shift at work. In the distance, you hear strange, muffled footsteps. You can't quite pinpoint where they're coming from, but there's just something...off about the gait: It's bouncy and a little unsteady, like a happy drunk, but moving way too fast for that. Eventually, a form resolves out of the mist. It is something like a man, but broader, more angular, and -- good god, lacking a head! It approaches you quickly, and with purpose. You finally snap out of the shock, and turn to flee. You glance back over your shoulder, just in time to see it drop to all fours, like an ape, the skittering footsteps picking up speed...Oh, man. I'm sorry. I'm over-reacting again, aren't I? Atlas clearly isn't built to chase down human prey. That's Cheetah, their next project already in the works right now.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook or you could just start running. Apparently you're going to need the head start.