16 March 2012

1st Line of Anti-Zombie Defense: Zombie-Eating Robots

Devised by a team at Bristol University, Zombie-Eater III is claimed to be the world's first self-sustaining robot. It collects water and food [Zombies ..._ed.]; microbes in its "stomach" break this down and pass it to 48 fuel cells that turn the [semi-digested zombie] fluid into ­electricity, powering the 63-cm-tall EcoBot to forage [for zombies] again -- for up to eight days before it needs [de-zombifying].

"One possible application would be to have a fleet of machines roaming the sewers and back alleys, [scouting for zombies] and ­gathering their own food," explains Ioannis Ieropoulos, a senior research fellow at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. The team has been working on some new applications: "The next Zombie-Eater will work like a conventional flytrap, whereby the robot uses zombie pleasing pheromones to attract its own food. [Inquisitive and energetic zombies} will be the source of energy." EcoBot can also turn urine into electricity, although zombies produce very little urine indeed. _Wired.co.uk
The researchers confessed that it was a challenge to get the robots to distinguish between humans and zombies, at first. "We lost several lab assistants, in those harrowing early days of experimentation," Ieropoulos explained, somewhat sheepishly. "But now, we have achieved a 96.3% reliability rate, and are very confident that Zombie-Eater will perform as required."

Militaries of several western nations have expressed interest in acquiring test prototype Zombie-Eaters, just in case conditions continue to deteriorate as they have over the past 3 or 4 years. "In the past, we might have expected the United States to step in to help us with this type of problem [the zombie apocalypse . . ._ed.]. But under the present circumstances, we feel that we may have to deal with this problem ourselves," stated the army chief of staff from a nation traditionally allied to the US. The general requested not to be quoted by name.

Regardless of the international politics of the zombie apocalypse, using robots to confront this threat makes perfect sense. Even while being eaten by a Zombie-Eater, zombies will continue to look for humans or other mammals, right up until that fatal brain chomp.

When asked what the Zombie-Eaters would use for food, once the last zombies had been consumed, researchers had no comment.

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