US Navy tests robotic fire-fighters
Fire-fighting robots designed to withstand intense heat are to be tested by the US Navy this summer.
The Shipboard Autonomous Fire-fighting Robot (SAFFiR) has been built by engineers at Virginia Tech and other US universities.
The robots are expected to perform a variety of tasks - balancing, turning valves, picking up and dragging a fire hose and jetting water on the fire.
They also have a vision system to search for survivors.
"The human-sized autonomous robot is capable of finding and suppressing shipboard fires and working seamlessly with human fire-fighters," says the Office of Naval Research's website.
Such a machine should be "able to withstand higher heat for longer periods than human fire-fighters," it adds.
Two versions of the robot, made by researchers at Virginia Tech and the universities of California, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania, will be tested on board the decommissioned USS Shadwell.
The ship is regularly set on fire to test new equipment.
One robot will be about 5ft (1.5m) while the other will be slightly taller and more advanced.
Robots are increasingly finding their way into the military. The Pentagon's Darpa (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) has a range of battlefield robots and is also working on ways to enhance soldiers' abilities with exoskeletons and uniforms made of smart materials.
This week it announced a new unit devoted to researching the intersection between biology and engineering.
It will look at creating man-made super-materials, renewable fuels and solar cells.
But it has led some commentators to ask if, longer term, the military will also try to create artificial life.
"It makes you think: Why bother with mechanical robots when you can engineer fake human replicants to fight your battles?" asked Meghan Neal. a journalist at Motherboard - a website dedicated to future technologies.
/ About us
Founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov in February 2011 with the participation of leading Russian specialists in the field of neural interfaces, robotics, artificial organs and systems.
The main goals of the 2045 Initiative: the creation and realization of a new strategy for the development of humanity which meets global civilization challenges; the creation of optimale conditions promoting the spiritual enlightenment of humanity; and the realization of a new futuristic reality based on 5 principles: high spirituality, high culture, high ethics, high science and high technologies.
The main science mega-project of the 2045 Initiative aims to create technologies enabling the transfer of a individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.
A large-scale transformation of humanity, comparable to some of the major spiritual and sci-tech revolutions in history, will require a new strategy. We believe this to be necessary to overcome existing crises, which threaten our planetary habitat and the continued existence of humanity as a species. With the 2045 Initiative, we hope to realize a new strategy for humanity's development, and in so doing, create a more productive, fulfilling, and satisfying future.
The "2045" team is working towards creating an international research center where leading scientists will be engaged in research and development in the fields of anthropomorphic robotics, living systems modeling and brain and consciousness modeling with the goal of transferring one’s individual consciousness to an artificial carrier and achieving cybernetic immortality.
An annual congress "The Global Future 2045" is organized by the Initiative to give platform for discussing mankind's evolutionary strategy based on technologies of cybernetic immortality as well as the possible impact of such technologies on global society, politics and economies of the future.
Future prospects of "2045" Initiative for society
The emergence and widespread use of affordable android "avatars" controlled by a "brain-computer" interface. Coupled with related technologies “avatars’ will give people a number of new features: ability to work in dangerous environments, perform rescue operations, travel in extreme situations etc.
Avatar components will be used in medicine for the rehabilitation of fully or partially disabled patients giving them prosthetic limbs or recover lost senses.
Creation of an autonomous life-support system for the human brain linked to a robot, ‘avatar’, will save people whose body is completely worn out or irreversibly damaged. Any patient with an intact brain will be able to return to a fully functioning bodily life. Such technologies will greatly enlarge the possibility of hybrid bio-electronic devices, thus creating a new IT revolution and will make all kinds of superimpositions of electronic and biological systems possible.
Creation of a computer model of the brain and human consciousness with the subsequent development of means to transfer individual consciousness onto an artificial carrier. This development will profoundly change the world, it will not only give everyone the possibility of cybernetic immortality but will also create a friendly artificial intelligence, expand human capabilities and provide opportunities for ordinary people to restore or modify their own brain multiple times. The final result at this stage can be a real revolution in the understanding of human nature that will completely change the human and technical prospects for humanity.
This is the time when substance-independent minds will receive new bodies with capacities far exceeding those of ordinary humans. A new era for humanity will arrive! Changes will occur in all spheres of human activity – energy generation, transportation, politics, medicine, psychology, sciences, and so on.
Today it is hard to imagine a future when bodies consisting of nanorobots will become affordable and capable of taking any form. It is also hard to imagine body holograms featuring controlled matter. One thing is clear however: humanity, for the first time in its history, will make a fully managed evolutionary transition and eventually become a new species. Moreover, prerequisites for a large-scale expansion into outer space will be created as well.
Key elements of the project in the future
• International social movement
• social network immortal.me
• charitable foundation "Global Future 2045" (Foundation 2045)
• scientific research centre "Immortality"
• business incubator
• University of "Immortality"
• annual award for contribution to the realization of the project of "Immortality”.