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2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:42 pm UTC
by somitomi
Image
Title text: "Some worry that we'll soon have a surplus of search and rescue robots, compared to the number of actual people in situations requiring search and rescue. That's where our other robot project comes in..."

"Aerodynamics aside, I’m curious what tactical advantage you’re expecting to gain by having the high explosive fly back at you if it misses the target rescue robot shoot a projectile at the people it's trying to reach."

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:32 pm UTC
by Mjb
An image search for search and rescue robot confirms that this is true. More broadly, how wealthy countries tend to deploy their armed forces most of the time. Natural disaster? State of emergency? Major sporting event? All valid occasions to send in the troops. Anything meant for navigating an actively hostile environment can somehow be applied to a merely inhospitable one.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:38 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
somitomi wrote:"Aerodynamics aside, I’m curious what tactical advantage you’re expecting to gain by having the rescue robot shoot a projectile at the people it's trying to reach."

If the person to be rescued isn't wedged tight, they'd be pulled towards the rescue robot at the same time as the rescue robot is pulled towards them. That's gotta be good, if they aren't happy where they are, right?


Mjb wrote:More broadly, how wealthy countries tend to deploy their armed forces most of the time. Natural disaster? State of emergency? Major sporting event? All valid occasions to send in the troops. Anything meant for navigating an actively hostile environment can somehow be applied to a merely inhospitable one.
Something recently about the protests in France (the latest protests in France, mark you… there are always protests in France, IME) said there was reluctance to use the military to assist because they weren't trained to do crowd control and might get cornered by rioters.

Indeed.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:21 pm UTC
by cellocgw
I just started reading the Murderbot series. By comparison, Randall's robot is as benign as an allergenic pillow.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:24 pm UTC
by speising
an allergenic pillow sounds quite nasty, though.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 6:26 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
They meant "hypoallergenic pillow".

A pillow stuffed with allergens and hypodermic needles.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:21 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
OK, suppose this floating robot could maintain a strong electrical charge on its surface. Maybe by using a power source to produce a constant source of ions. But if it ain't grounded, that's hardly enough charge to attract lightning. The induced charge in a tall metal structure has to be orders of magnitude greater ... probably the same with induced charges in the solid earth. I like the grappling hook though.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:02 pm UTC
by chenille
If it has both a hookshot and ether medallion, wouldn't the obvious application be exploring forgotten temples?

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:11 am UTC
by GlassHouses
Is it even possible to build a rigid helium-filled sphere that floats in air? Helium balloons are usually rather large and made out of some flimsy, ultra-light-weight material. How thin would a metal sphere have to be?

Regarding the lightning thing, I've seen a Van de Graaff generator cause sparks across several inches, which is impressive and a little scary, but it's a long way from actual lightning. It's certainly a lot less destructive or lethal. A Tesla coil could do a better job, but lifting that kind of thing with a rigid helium sphere seems even more improbable.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:17 am UTC
by sotanaht
Soupspoon wrote:
somitomi wrote:"Aerodynamics aside, I’m curious what tactical advantage you’re expecting to gain by having the rescue robot shoot a projectile at the people it's trying to reach."

If the person to be rescued isn't wedged tight, they'd be pulled towards the rescue robot at the same time as the rescue robot is pulled towards them. That's gotta be good, if they aren't happy where they are, right?


Mjb wrote:More broadly, how wealthy countries tend to deploy their armed forces most of the time. Natural disaster? State of emergency? Major sporting event? All valid occasions to send in the troops. Anything meant for navigating an actively hostile environment can somehow be applied to a merely inhospitable one.
Something recently about the protests in France (the latest protests in France, mark you… there are always protests in France, IME) said there was reluctance to use the military to assist because they weren't trained to do crowd control and might get cornered by rioters.

Indeed.

IT's France though, the military would probably surrender to the rioters.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:21 am UTC
by somitomi
Soupspoon wrote:If the person to be rescued isn't wedged tight, they'd be pulled towards the rescue robot at the same time as the rescue robot is pulled towards them. That's gotta be good, if they aren't happy where they are, right?

Generally speaking the people in need of resque need a hole punched in their head by a hookshot like they need... well, a hole in the head.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:35 am UTC
by solune
Ok, so I'm not alone in thinking that "search and rescue robot" is codeword for: "it really will be used by soldiers to kill people, but our engineers want to remain blissfully unaware of that."

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:49 pm UTC
by YellowYeti
A charged helium balloon?

can it fly like a spider?

https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)30693-6

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:24 pm UTC
by drachefly
Now combine the two and make the grappling beam from Super Metroid!

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:59 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
GlassHouses wrote:Is it even possible to build a rigid helium-filled sphere that floats in air? Helium balloons are usually rather large and made out of some flimsy, ultra-light-weight material. How thin would a metal sphere have to be? ...


Apparently so: https://physics.stackexchange.com/quest ... um-spheres

But apparently not so if you want to fill the "rigid balloon" with a vacuum: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_airship

EDIT: At least when that analysis was done (2006), but there might be some newer composite material that could work.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:59 am UTC
by PM 2Ring
Also see Vacuum Zeppelin.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:47 pm UTC
by Archgeek
PM 2Ring wrote:Also see Vacuum Zeppelin.

More like Van der Graff Zeppelin. :D

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:08 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
*thwack*

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:20 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
What if we applied nanotechnology to this problem. People are already talking about building honeycomb-like structures with vacuum between the struts to hold the exterior membrane up. What if we just filled the interior of it with vibrating nanoparticles constructed of one of the lightest elements, and let their own kinetic interactions keep them spaced apart, preserving the vacuum between them all, while maintaining the shape of the exterior membrane that keeps the outside air displaced. Helium should work well as a construction material for those nanoparticles.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:39 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
Mjb wrote:An image search for search and rescue robot confirms that this is true. More broadly, how wealthy countries tend to deploy their armed forces most of the time. Natural disaster? State of emergency? Major sporting event? All valid occasions to send in the troops. Anything meant for navigating an actively hostile environment can somehow be applied to a merely inhospitable one.
I've imagined how I would explain the job of the Blue Angels MC to someone from an isolated tribe:

So he's a marine right? Marines are people that fight on land after traveling over water, or fight on boats (as opposed to with boats), or sometimes just fight on land when there's no water fighting to do, but they'll be insulted if you call them the land fighting people. So this land-water fighting guy works as the MC of a group that does not fight, but looks like the water fighting air fighters; oh, btw many of the the air fighting vehicles are kept on water boats, so some air fighting people are with the water fighting or water-land fighting people, instead of the airforce, which is based around air fighting. So this group does this demonstration that looks like fighting, well not that much like fighting, more like a dance with air fighting vehicles. So this guy is an MC, which is like that thing you have, expect he doesn't do it occasionally but all the time, it's the main way he contributes to society. And we give him the same compensation and respect as if he was fighting for us, because he's one of the land-water fighting people despite not specifically fighting currently.
sotanaht wrote:What if we applied nanotechnology to this problem.
Let me stop you right there.

Great elevator pitch. How can I invest?

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:27 am UTC
by Soupspoon
Quizatzhaderac wrote:So he's a marine right? Marines are people that fight on land after traveling over water, or fight on boats (as opposed to with boats), or sometimes just fight on land when there's no water fighting to do, but they'll be insulted if you call them the land fighting people. So this land-water fighting guy works as the MC of a group that does not fight, but looks like the water fighting air fighters; oh, btw many of the the air fighting vehicles are kept on water boats, so some air fighting people are with the water fighting or water-land fighting people, instead of the airforce, which is based around air fighting. So this group does this demonstration that looks like fighting, well not that much like fighting, more like a dance with air fighting vehicles. So this guy is an MC, which is like that thing you have, expect he doesn't do it occasionally but all the time, it's the main way he contributes to society. And we give him the same compensation and respect as if he was fighting for us, because he's one of the land-water fighting people despite not specifically fighting currently.

That spiel needs to be thoroughly Thing Explainerised.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:57 pm UTC
by xtifr
cellocgw wrote:I just started reading the Murderbot series. By comparison, Randall's robot is as benign as an allergenic pillow.

Great series, but I'm not sure if you're accusing Murderbot of being benign or not. Murderbot--despite the snarky, self-adopted name--seemed pretty benign to me. I mean, yes, Murderbot was designed to kill; it isn't just an accidental side-effect because cool-looking things can be dangerous. But...well, I don't want to post any spoilers, but I think the very first sentence sums it up pretty well:

Murderbot wrote:I could have become a mass murderer after I hacked my governor module, but then I realized I could access the combined feed of entertainment channels carried on the company satellites.

Of all the weapons it possesses, the only one it uses regularly is snark, which it wields with deadly precision, but actual deaths from snark attacks are pretty rare! (Even with Great White Snarks, which, as we all know, are the most dangerous kind.)

And yes, there was that little incident of mass murder before it hacked its governor module, but since it literally wasn't in charge of its actions at that time, it seems a little harsh to blame it for that.

Anyway, yeah, excellent series, highly recommended, funny and charming.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 5:45 pm UTC
by SuicideJunkie
Pfhorrest wrote:Helium should work well as a construction material for those nanoparticles.

I think ponytail has decided that most of those protons and neutrons in your struts are redundant and just add weight; eliminating those is the key advancement in the new robot.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:01 pm UTC
by Old Bruce
Soupspoon wrote:That spiel needs to be thoroughly Thing Explainerised.

Not until you Thing Explain "Explainerised"

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:30 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Old Bruce wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:That spiel needs to be thoroughly Thing Explainerised.

Not until you Thing Explain "Explainerised"

Ok, then "Made into a Thingificated Explainer"



:P

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:06 pm UTC
by DavidSh
SuicideJunkie wrote:I think ponytail has decided that most of those protons and neutrons in your struts are redundant and just add weight; eliminating those is the key advancement in the new robot.

It sounds like the question now is how much electrostatic repulsion on a charged balloon can substitute for the pressure of the inflating gas.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:12 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
Can there be such a thing as an all-electron plasma? Like could you fire a cathode ray into a container and somehow fill it up with just a cloud of electrons? Or would they all bind to the atoms of the container and then discharge elsewhere as soon as they got the chance?

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:32 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
Pfhorrest wrote:Can there be such a thing as an all-electron plasma? Like could you fire a cathode ray into a container and somehow fill it up with just a cloud of electrons? Or would they all bind to the atoms of the container and then discharge elsewhere as soon as they got the chance?


That's a really interesting question. Sure, you could aim a cathode ray into a nonconducting hollow sphere and create a plasma of electrons only. But I doubt it would be very dense, or have a chance to build up to the point where it would break through the dielectric barrier and discharge to ground. I think what would happen is that as the charge built up inside, at some point the cathode ray would be repelled ... or at least reach an equilibrium where charge delivery rate was equal to charge leakage.

And yeah, some of them could bind to the surface of an insulator. That's how wool charges a rubber rod. But that would quickly reach saturation.

EDIT: Just realized this would require a vacuum inside the sphere, which creates problems for getting the cathode ray in, so consider it a gedanken.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:36 pm UTC
by Quizatzhaderac
At normal temperatures, If bound by an insulator, a cloud of electrons would take the (2D) shape of the inner surface of the insulator. This is because if there are electrons in the center that means the center has a more negative voltage than the surface, which causes electrons to move towards the surface, and so the equilibrium is very close to all of the electrons being on the surface.

The heat of the electron plasma will cause not all electrons to be at the lowest voltage with the average electron having enough energy to go a volt per 1,160 degrees Kelvin. This is roughly what happens in some fusion chambers.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 7:46 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
So, to the point of the topic, if you had a nonconducting flexible bag, and you shot a cathode ray into it, could you inflate the bag with an electron plasma? And would that electron plasma inflating the bag be less dense than the hydrogen or helium that you might otherwise fill the bag with, since you're getting rid of all the protons and neutrons?

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:00 pm UTC
by Heimhenge
Pfhorrest wrote:So, to the point of the topic, if you had a nonconducting flexible bag, and you shot a cathode ray into it, could you inflate the bag with an electron plasma? And would that electron plasma inflating the bag be less dense than the hydrogen or helium that you might otherwise fill the bag with, since you're getting rid of all the protons and neutrons?


Another gedanken. Same problem. Now you're talking about having sufficient charge on the inside surface to exert a repulsive pressure of 1 atmosphere. That value could be calculated (for a balloon of given size), but I suspect the charge would be high enough to escape by discharge to ground. All insulators break down at some voltage.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:45 am UTC
by somitomi
Heimhenge wrote:Another gedanken. Same problem. Now you're talking about having sufficient charge on the inside surface to exert a repulsive pressure of 1 atmosphere. That value could be calculated (for a balloon of given size), but I suspect the charge would be high enough to escape by discharge to ground. All insulators break down at some voltage.

Yeah,but it's a balloon high up in the atmosphere. As long as it's always a couple kilometers from the ground, you can probably get up to a couple MV before a discharge occurs. And when it does, you just solved the "attract lightning" part by directly creating lightning (or attracting nearby charged clouds). I can't see any problems whatsoever. :wink:

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:28 pm UTC
by ijuin
The other drawback that I can see is the that, unless your balloon is quite large, the weight penalty of the equipment needed to produce and maintain this electrostatic charge is going to exceed the extra lift in comparison to using hydrogen.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:45 pm UTC
by Pfhorrest
I was imagining you would fill the balloon with electrons while it is tethered to the ground and then release it to fly without the cathode ray, not carry the cathode ray with you. Although hot air balloons do carry heat sources with themselves, so if the electron plasma does leak somehow, carrying the cathode along sounds feasible.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 11:30 pm UTC
by xtifr
The problem with filling your balloon with electrons is that electrons still have mass. If you want to go really light-weight, what you need to do is fill your balloon with massless particles. As long as you have enough, say, photons, you should be able to offset the pressure of the outside atmosphere, without the need for a rigid (and heavy) outer layer.

Of course, there are still one or two minor technical details to overcome with the photon-balloon, but that's just a Simple Matter of Engineering™.

(Other matters that are just a Simple Matter of Engineering™: space elevators, dyson spheres, etc.) :D

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:47 am UTC
by ijuin
If you have enough energy to spare to keep the balloon pressurized with photon pressure alone, then you have more than enough energy to remain airborne without any buoyancy at all as a heavier-than-air craft.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 12:39 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
But what if you're trying to float in a nitrogen triiodide atmosphere, where you don't want to beat at it furiously/at all?

;)

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:41 pm UTC
by Tonsil
I find this immensely fitting, because:

As a great fan of dirigibles and zeppelins, I have followed the various attempts and projects in this field for some time.

I think that all the projects fail because they are not tailored to fit a need, but rather be a phallic monument to the childish ego of some overfunded engineers.

"It will be the BIGGEST! Four hundred meters!"
"What will you use it for?"
"It will have solar cells and utilize the coanda effect!"
"Yes, but what is its purpose?"
"..."
"...?"
"Well, it can... deliver equipment to catastrophe areas?"

They build one, then go bankrupt.

On a serious note, I believe that airships absolutely have a niche between shipping and trucking - but since I am a bore I visualize unmanned drone airships, hydrogen filled and saucer-shaped, custom-sized for every purpose. Deliver windmill generators offshore and acting like a crane while there, for example. The lack of strapping uniforms and steampunk usually makes people lose interest fast. They just moan "Hindenburrrrrrg" and back off.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:46 pm UTC
by somitomi
ijuin wrote:If you have enough energy to spare to keep the balloon pressurized with photon pressure alone, then you have more than enough energy to remain airborne without any buoyancy at all as a heavier-than-air craft.

Yes, but then you lose the opportunity to travel with a "photon balloon" and honestly I don't think many people could tank losing the potential for such awesomeness.
Tonsil wrote:On a serious note, I believe that airships absolutely have a niche between shipping and trucking - but since I am a bore I visualize unmanned drone airships, hydrogen filled and saucer-shaped, custom-sized for every purpose. Deliver windmill generators offshore and acting like a crane while there, for example. The lack of strapping uniforms and steampunk usually makes people lose interest fast. They just moan "Hindenburrrrrrg" and back off.

Despite what I said above, I honestly think those would still be pretty cool. I think you just need to call them "flying saucers" to get people on board.

Re: 2128: "New Robot"

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 2:29 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
somitomi wrote:Despite what I said above, I honestly think those would still be pretty cool. I think you just need to call them "flying saucers" to get people on board.
No, what you need to get people on board is some sort of tractor/levitation ray that you can shine down at them and their rusty old pick-ups in the middle of nowhere.