We already have autonomous robots that can drive, fly, swim—even operate in space. And now, thanks to researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, we'll soon be dealing with bots that can tackle the final frontier here on earth—or should we say inside earth—with a self-burrowing robot that works underground.

It's hard to see robotic developments like this and not immediately think of how it can be used against humans. After all, a lot of good can come from robots too. But according to its creators, this burrowing bot could be air-dropped onto a target where it would immediately bury itself and provide covert video surveillance. Even stealthy aerial drones can still be spotted as they make a pass, but except for a little disturbed dirt, these would be hard to spot.

So the next time you're at the beach, remember to keep your anti-robot sentiments to yourself, because you never know what might be listening beneath your feet. [Digging Robots via IEEE Spectrum]