Pentagon’s ‘Project Avatar’ replaces aliens with robots

Movies Blog

It's amazing how technological advances from sci-fi films end up happening for real — from touch screen computers (think 'Minority Report') to cloning Dolly the sheep ('Jurassic Park').

Now the Pentagon's slightly sinister research arm Darpa have looked to movie 'Avatar' for inspiration (reports Dailytech).

[Related story: The sci-fi tech that became a reality]

The agency have unveiled their $2.8 billion (£1.7 billion) budget for 2013 (fun fact: 'Avatar' made almost the same amount at the box office), with $7 million (£4.4 million) of that allotted to a project imaginatively titled 'Avatar'.

The research will "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate."

In layman's terms (we think) this means humans controlling fighting robots (instead of cloned 12-foot aliens).

Darpa reckon 'bots could be used for "room clearing, sentry control [and] combat casualty recovery".

[Related story: Avatar: the theme park]

Of course, man-free fighting machines exist already in the shape of Predator drones and bomb disposal 'bots — but they don't sound as ace as this.

It's the natural progression for Darpa, who've already built a frankly terrifying prototype gear-lugging bot called 'AlphaDog' and are investigating a headless autonomous robot dubbed 'Petman'.  The pictures (below) gave us nightmares.

The next step is soldiers controlling robots with their minds. Darpa have apparently carried out some successful experiments with technology.

But they were on monkeys.