Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

“Cute” weapons news?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-04-25

On a day (Anzac Day in Oz and NZ) to contemplate military (mis)adventures and their impact on people, a recent paper about landmines (of all things!) has an "Odd Spot" aspect, and perhaps a slight bit of whimsy.

Mongooses (larger cousins of the ultra-cute meerkats) have been saving people’s lives for centuries by keeping cobras away.  Now researchers have got a robot and mongoose working together to locate landmines.

Look at the YouTube video and consider whether it is the robot taking the mongoose for a walk, or the other way around.

Of course, it won’t be so cute if the mongoose gets hurt, but they are pretty smart – besides, they’ll be worth protecting because of the investment required to train them.

The full research paper from the Sri Lankan researchers is freely available: "A Human-Animal-Robot Cooperative System for Anti-Personal Mine Detection".

Actually it’s a dwarf mongoose, so it’s probably not much bigger than a meerkat.

With the TV success of "Meerkat Manor" and various reality shows focussed on security forces, I wonder what will happen if a media "creative" sees this: ¿Gravelly voice says After the break – They’re cute – They’re hi-tech – They work with security forces – Iiiiiiit’s "Patrol-Team Mongoose"?

Hat tip: New Scientist, although don’t bother visiting unless you have a paid subscription.


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