You don't have to be tinfoil underwear type to get uneasy about some of the bizarre projects that DARPA throws its weight behind. But the organic matter-consuming EATR robot? Oh. God.
The defense research agency has announced they'll be funding the EATR project—the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot—which aims to build a lumbering mechanical creature that lives off of flesh, both plant and animal:
EATR is an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance military missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling. The patent pending robotic system can find, ingest and extract energy from biomass in the environment, as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, diesel, propane and solar) when suitable.
It's actually a steam-powered machine, which employs a biomass furnace that can be fed by all manner of organic materials, harvested with its "gripper" claw and chainsaw.
The EATR's ideal source of fuel would probably be foliage, not humans, but there are just too many red flags here. Claws? Chainsaws? "Organic matter" and "biomass" euphemisms? Not to mention this is the second death-powered machine we've seen in as many weeks. The project is set to be completed in about 90 days, so enjoy the next three months, folks. [Register via Switched]