today in "our new robot overlords" news

Triton Logging:

"A chainsaw-wielding robotic submarine is roving beneath Lois Lake in British Columbia, Canada. It is chopping down a forest that was left submerged decades ago when the valley was flooded by a hydroelectric dam. After it cuts the trees, they are floated to the surface, where they are dried out and sold to mills for use in furniture and construction, like any other lumber.

Trees left standing in flooded forests die, but they do not rot because the water keeps out oxygen. Worldwide, some 200 million trees are thought to be standing on the floor of hydropower reservoirs."

Enryu rescue robot in action:
"Robot venture Tmsuk yesterday held a press day to officially launch and demonstrate its massive tractor-with-arms rescue robot, Enryu. See Enryu rip the door off a perfectly good car! See Enryu pick up a steel girder with one hand! etc.

"The impression we get from the videos is that it's rather a sluggish beast, though it turns out this is deliberate [...] The original settings had the robot arms moving at the same pace as the operator's, resulting in a lot of dangerous high-speed flailing about that would have made it impossible to use at the scene of an accident. This is a creature that can lift half a ton with one arm, mind. The arms now track the operator's movements at a slower speed, though they do stop immediately the operator does."

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14 Responses:

  1. loosechanj says:

    It's about freaking time you posted this.

  2. 33mhz says:

    That's great. The kanji that make up the name "enryu" effectively mean, "Help[ing/er/ful] Dragon"

  3. travisd says:

    I read somewhere a while ago that the long-submerged tree market is pretty lucrative. The context I read was retrieving trees that had sunk during normal logging activities. Apparently this is basically "vintage timber" that you just can't find anywhere - large, old-growth wood that's impossible to find nowadays due to over harvesting, blight, and the like.

    • taffer says:

      I saw something on TV (aiee! the dreaded idiotbox!) a while back about a local startup that's harvesting sunken logs from the Ottawa river here in Ontario. This seemed to involve a diver attaching airbags or something to the logs instead of a deadly robot avenger...

  4. baconmonkey says:

    from the steel girder clip, I think we finally know who is behind the rash of SoMa car window smashings.

  5. My minions are finally infiltrating your puny human culture.

  6. greyface says:

    I had long wondered what reason mankind would find to put chainsaws on robots [more formidible than battle-bots]. It was an inevitable conclusion to the existence of technology that allows robots and chainsaws.

    Now... if only these underwater dead-forests had underwater dead-squaarrl, we'd have a good reason to put shotguns on sawbot... (leading to the inevitable conclusion that I'm a titanic geek and want an AshBot).

  7. howling says:

    You sort of like hearing yourself speak, don't you...