Grenade-throwing robot to fight fires on ships
March 13th, 2012
10:09 AM ET

Grenade-throwing robot to fight fires on ships

By Matthew Knight, CNN

(CNN) - It might look like science fiction but the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) hopes to turn this humanoid robot into a seafaring fact in an effort to improve firefighting capabilities on board military vessels.

Currently at the development stage, the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (or SAFFiR for short) is intended to combat fires in the cramped conditions of a ship, saving lives and costly equipment.

Armed with cameras and a gas sensor, the battery-powered SAFFiR will be "capable of activating fire suppressors" and throwing "propelled extinguishing agent technology (PEAT) grenades," says the NRL.

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Filed under: Innovation • Robots • Tech
Ray Kurzweil on our 'machine-human civilization'
March 13th, 2012
10:05 AM ET

Ray Kurzweil on our 'machine-human civilization'

By Brandon Griggs, CNN

Austin, Texas (CNN) - Any author or filmmaker seeking ideas for a sci-fi yarn about the implications of artificial intelligence - good or bad - would be smart to talk to Ray Kurzweil.

Kurzweil, the acclaimed inventor and futurist, believes that humans and technology are blurring - note the smartphone appendages in almost everyone's hand - and will eventually merge.

"We are a human-machine civilization. Everybody has been enhanced with computer technology," he told a capacity crowd of more than 3,000 tech-savvy listeners Monday at the South by Southwest Interactive conference. "They're really part of who we are.

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Filed under: Future • Innovation • Internet • Robots • Social change • Tech