back to article US Army funds $10m bat-droid

The University of Michigan (UM) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $10m by the US Army to carry out research leading to a "six-inch robotic spy plane modelled after a bat", which would "gather data from sights, sounds and" - worryingly - "smells". U-Michigan concept of 'the bat' robogargothopter 'The bat' robo- …


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  1. ImaGnuber

    Bat Girl?

    I want one. Give it a nice feminine voice so we can chat and I'll go for a flock of them.

    mmm.... must get out more. Where's my coat...

  2. Michael Ortmann

    Where's the Robin Bot then?

    I for my part hail our new Bat-Bot Overlords.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Frikkin' lasers

    I'm sorry, but it needs frikkin' lasers on it.

  4. Charles Hammond

    Maybe we need Mind Control Ticks

    Imagine a tick robot that can cling to any living creature and tell it what to do?

    Maybe the Vampire can bite the enemy soldiers and use nano-technology to turn them into zombies???

  5. Mike Moyle

    Pedantry alert

    "...UM team seems to feel that robo-ornithopter is the natural way to go."

    Technically, wouldn't that make it a chiropterthopter...?

    ...I'm just askin', is all.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    "Give it a nice feminine voice so we can chat and I'll go for a flock of them."

    With airport-announcer pleasantness you hear from a nearby telephone pole:

    "Scan mode engaged"


    "Your face has been matched with 0.97 accuracy to profile data kept in the TIA cross-atlantic coverage database. Given the current state of "orange" terror alert, anti-terrorism bill HR.666 allows me to expedite effective antithreat measures without further human operator veto intervention."

    (Upon which the bat throws a couple of high-speed tetrotoxin darts at your exposed neck.)

    "Thank you and have a nice day."

  7. Dave

    Winner "Phrase Of the Week" is:

    "vibration-harvesting ornithopter gargoyle bat-bot"

    U Mich only doing the electronics, though

    No bats

    Nothing to see here

    Move along, please

  8. Joel
    Thumb Down

    As we used to say in the Army...

    FTA All The Way!

  9. Jesse


    Why do you guys keep posting craptastic and overused "humor" from slashdot here? I enjoy coming to the reg because of the witty comments, informative points of view and genuine humor. Go away. Please.

  10. Bounty
    Black Helicopters

    wonder how it lands.

    Looks like it could fly ok. Can't picture that landing on a light post. Also, imagine the video that would come from a winged robot.

    up.. down... up.. down... sky.. floor... sky.. terrorist... sky.... wall........ WALL!!!!!


  11. Rick

    Bat army

    Further clarfication that the US army is indeed a force of evil...

    I can hardly see the army of light arming themeselves with autonomous winged terror bats.. can you?

    Maybe the new leader of the free world is going to be Venger from Dungeons and Dragons!!

    I hope version 2 of the project will be for "Winged Monkeys"

  12. Andy Dingley

    "Spy planes to recharge [from] power lines"

    Life imitates Starglider?

  13. Dave Bell


    Why does the US Army want its own flying machines?

    Don't they trust the US Air Force?


    It makes a lot of sense, doesn't it.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    "I enjoy coming to the reg because of the witty comments, informative points of view and genuine humor."

    Then why don't you post one, or shut the fuck up?

    There, was that Slashdotty enough for you?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UM has a long history of gorging on pork

    Check with their local Congressmen. The military had zero discretion about what to do with or where to spend this money.

  16. Stewart Haywood
    Thumb Up

    @Charles Hammond

    How about a tick-bot that clings to any enemy bat-droid, drinks from it's power source, reads the data it is storing and feeds it false data?

    Maybe the bat-droid needs to carry a robo-virus that it is imune to but will infect tick-bots. And so on and so on..................

    Micro-ECM and micro (maybe even pico) ECCM are going to be sooo much fun!

  17. John A Blackley

    @Dave Bell

    The US Army has long had its own air corps - as has the Navy and the Marine Corps.

    Not quite to clear-cut as the jolly old RAF, I'm sure. Sorry if it confuses you.

  18. frank denton


    Wouldn't it be simpler to further the research and development of implant control on a real bat?

    (See many previous Reg articles.)

    After all, real bats can already fly very well, hang upside down and hang around, refuel themselves with insects/fruit etc. They can also fly in the dark, in dense formations avoiding obstacles and not bumping into each other. All that is an amazing set of capabilities which have already been developed.

    The only problem is that they only fly at night, but some little blacked out goggles should take care of that. (Sponsorship logo on the headband?)

    I await news of joined up thinking in the area of military research.

  19. Dougthedug

    There's a bad sequel on the rise.

    The MOD have already launched Skynet. Now the US army are making a robot bat ornithopter.

    If Alien vs. Predator was bad, Dracula vs. Terminator vs. Paul Atreides will be worse.

  20. skeptical i

    Russia ups its game ...

    ... will produce robo- accipitriforme- thopter, bury us (and whack shoe on table).

  21. Ishkandar

    @Dave Bell

    Ever heard of blue-on-blue or friendly fire (if ever there was a more disgusting oxymoron) ?? USAF is so famous for it that the US Army NEEDS its own air power !!

    Imagine a flock of airforce bat-roids zapping a whole US infantry division !! Al-Queda will wet itself laughing for a week !!

  22. Adrian Esdaile
    Black Helicopters

    Best new word for 2008


    How cool is that?

    Will it be in stores for Xmas?

    We can only hope that the US military doesn't realise they could conquer the world in minutes with flocks of these in 57% of the world's kid's Xmas presents.

    Aside: remind me how you do multiple third-person plurals again?

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @ John A Blackley

    Army Air Corps???

    Think you find British Army has their own

    Fleet Air Arm

    Think you find British Navy has their own

    The multi service one lol

  24. Philip Nicholls Silver badge
    Dead Vulture

    Bats - rats - snakes - spiders

    1. Any other creatures which mankind generally abhor(s) and result(s) in communal dread? Cockroaches? Women?

    2. Anyone remember Martin Cruz Smith's "Nightwing", the book, and the film of the book?

    3. Where does all the guano go? And is it positive or negatively charged?

    Sated sucker icon.


  25. Anonymous Coward

    More and more like HL2 everyday

    Gordon, is that you?

  26. Richard

    Bat Country

    Hunter S Thompson was right..... We must get out of here....this is bat country

  27. Matthew Hale


    As Evil Graham said....

    Also, it's `humour` ;)

  28. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Bad news for feathered friends

    As soon the first thing any soldier/terrorist preparing a position will do - shoot anyhing resembling bats or birds.

    Once this tech will become widely adopted by one army or another it will be easy to get hold of for everyone, terrorists or freedom fighters alike.

    Re: "Give it a nice feminine voice..."

    Here are some suggestions:

    "Protection team alert, evidence of anticivil activity in this community. Code; assemble, plan, contain."

    "Individual, you are charged with capital malcompliance. Anti-citizen status approved."

    "Citizen reminder, inaction is conspiracy report counter behaviour to a civil protection team immediately."

    "Citizen notice. Failure to co-operate will result in permanent off-world relocation."

    "Anticitizen. You have been judged guilty by civil protection, all units deliver terminal verdict immediately."

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