Wednesday, February 12, 2014

U of A Professor Apparently 'Robocop' Expert

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The futuristic robo-remake hits theaters everywhere today. But is Robocop too good to be true?

Robocop takes place 14 years from now where the world is "robo-phobic" and evil scientist are capable of making disabled cops like Alex Murphy in to cybernetic, bad ass machines. Is this fictional action sci-fi stretching the "truth" by making movie goers believe that we could turn humans in to fully mechanical robots? Charles Higgins, associate professor of neuroscience and electrical engineering at the University of Arizona, talked to Discovery News about how unlikely and fictional Robocop is.

Don't expect to see superhuman cops for another 100 years or more:

“In the next twenty or thirty years, you will start to see people who are unable to walk do so with functional prosthetics,” he told Discovery News. “But to be superhuman is going to be much farther off. To be able to do the things that RoboCop can do, I think is 100 years off or more.”

For now, only monkeys could relate to Robocop:

“That would be the closest thing we’ve seen in the real world to something like RoboCop,” Higgins said. “Basically, one of the monkey’s arms could be paralyzed and it could feed itself with the robotic arm.”

Raytheon has developed an exoskeleton that gives "soldiers superhuman strength and advanced mobility." But Higgins points out the chink in the armor:

“The problem is that Raytheon’s exoskeleton has a huge power cable going to the wall. There’s no battery with enough energy density that can power that.”


“There’s a really important piece of technology missing to enable something like RoboCop, and that’s power supply technology, ” he said. “The problem is that Raytheon’s exoskeleton has a huge power cable going to the wall. There’s no battery with enough energy density that can power that.”


“Where’s the battery for all this?” Higgins asked. “Is RoboCop going to run out of batteries in the middle of a car crash? When he’s chasing a criminal, is he going to have to stop and recharge?”

What good is your facial recognition system (a.k.a. Google glasses) if the enemy can snatch it off your face:

“To get to the kind of technology you see in RoboCop, you’re talking not about an optic nerve interface, but a brain interface and a really detailed understanding of what the visual cortex does,” he said. “We are not at that point. We do not understand the visual brain well enough to impose that information on top of existing visual information.”

There you have it folks. Robocop is just a movie and we will have to settle with regular beat cops with bad tickers.

(via: Discovery News)

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