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Robotics Science Technology

Terminator Sparrows? 138 138

AstroPhilosopher writes "In a move not far removed from the model T-101, U.S. researchers have succeeded in re-animating a dead sparrow. Duke scientists were studying male behavior aggression among sparrows. They cleverly decided to insert miniaturized robotics into an empty sparrow carcass and operate it like a puppet (abstract). It worked; they noticed wing movements were a primary sign of aggression. Fortunately the living won out this time. The experiment stopped after the real sparrows tore off the robosparrow's head. But there's always a newer model on the assembly-line. Good luck sparrows." Bad Horse has not yet made a decision on the researchers' application.
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Terminator Sparrows?

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  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:24PM (#43018473)

    It certainly looks like a pair of conflicting statements...did they never consider that they'd triggered an "Uncanny Valley" reaction in the sparrows and they were being aggressive towards the cyborg-zombie sparrow?

    That was my reaction. The attack seemed disproportionally aggressive. Killing the competition isn't a normal reaction. It seems more like fear than aggression. Curious if that could end up being another intelligence test whether animals also deal with a form of Uncanny Valley reaction. It's not universal since I've seen animals being fairly accepting of robotic animals. Gorillas don't normally have an aggressive reaction to people in gorilla suits, Rick Baker's crew dealt with that first hand on Graystoke by mixing with wild gorillas. Birds are different and look for subtle cues so they may react more strongly to "wrong" behavior. Moving oddly might be perceived as diseased so a dangerous threat to the gene pool.

  • by Livius (318358) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @11:05PM (#43021137)

    You may laugh now, but with their proactive approach sparrows will be the ones surviving the zombie apocalypse.

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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