Robots Don't Wear Belts, Science!

Robot Don’t Wear Belts: Animal Robots

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but let’s get real. Since the days of the original Lost in Space, what every little kid has really wanted is a kick-ass robot sidekick. We here at the Eclectic Eccentric say why choose? Shouldn’t we all have a faithful companion who is both a canine and a robot? I think we’ve earned that as a species. Well those of us who believe in science do anyway, screw the flat-earthers and climate change deniers. No Robo-puppies for them. For today’s entry of Robot Don’t Wear Belts we’re going to take a look at one of the cutest fields of robotics out there: Animal Robots.
Now if you’re a real buzzkill and can’t appreciate robotic animals for the awesomeness that they are then the question you’re probably asking right about now (in a super whiny voice) is “why in the world would we need to build robot animals when we have actual animals?”. Well Mr. or Ms. or gender non-conforming honorific stick-in-the-mud, the answer is that these robots have practical applications as well. For instance, these robotic impostors can be sent into the wild to live amongst their biological doubles. Equipped with cameras, these robots can observe and record the living animals of our world in a way that human beings have never been able to before. Who knows the things we can learn about our planet and the creatures we share it with that we’ve never known before. Along those same lines, robot animals can be used in sting operations to catch hunters and poachers who break the law and endanger animal populations.
The usefulness of these robotic animals is not just limited to the wild. They can be of great help in the home as well. Historically, people suffering from psychiatric problems or dementia have benefited greatly from having pets to care for, but unfortunately, if their conditions worsen these pets can suffer from neglect. This in addition to people’s pet allergies and the intensive training it takes to train a suitable support animal means that this is not a resource that is available to all people who might benefit from it. But with a robot animal, no allergies, no training, and no worry that a living thing might be harmed by neglect or an angry outburst. A perfect solution. This same logic would make robotic animals ideal pets for space travel. Providing companionship for astronauts during months or years-long journeys without using up valuable resources like food, water, or air.
All of this leads us to perhaps the most important question that needs to be answered as the technology continues to evolve, can robo-cat videos ever hope to match the adorableness of biological cat videos? Only time will tell.

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