Italy is to send a swarm of robot spiders into space. Yes, really.
Kitted out with cameras and sensors, the bots are Team Italia's attempt to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize – a race to land a robot on the moon and send back high-definition images by 2012.
Credit: Team Italia
In other Weird Tech news, a $1.3 million "exotic" deep sea craft is to revolutionise underwater adventuring and could unlock the mysteries of the ocean. That's according to inventor Graham Hawkes, who claims his Deep Flight Super Falcon can actually "fly underwater".
Unlike normal submersibles, which operate ballast systems and are "little more than sinkers", Hawkes' sleek Super Falcon boasts a set of wings with a span of 10 feet. The design is allegedly the first to operate on the same principles as air flight, using downward "lift" on the wings.
"Instead of being a crab where you drop to the bottom, it's like a dolphin," Hawkes explains. "It looks like a big animal moving and can do barrel rolls with whales."
The battery-powered vessel will cruise at depths of up to 1,500 feet in the search for mysterious deep sea creatures, such as the super shark and giant squid.
Elsewhere, Japan has come up with a tongue-in-cheek solution to solving the country's declining marriage rate: the Marriage Hunting Bra. Complete with chest-mounted countdown clock and pen (for signing marriage registration documents), there's also an engagement ring receptacle which, when filled, stops the clock and beeps The Wedding March.
Meanwhile a lost robot has crossed Munich – by asking strangers for directions. German researchers dumped a mobile robot outside the University of Munich and instructed it to find its way to the city centre, 1.5km away.
Equipped with cameras and posture recognition software to identify pointed-out directions, the ACE (Autonomous City Explorer) contended with a busy pedestrian area and one set of incorrect directions to safely reach the destination.
News in brief
Google has accused newspapers, orange juice and cheeseburgers of being "much more harmful to the planet" than running a vast network of datacenters. Fortunately bacon escaped the charges, with a pair of entrepreneurs naming it their "biofuel of choice" for driving.
And hack my shorts! Introducing the concept keyboard pants. Sadly only the left side functions properly, as the keyboard had to be snapped in half to fit on both trouser legs. Don't let this hold you back though; turns out it's good enough for Tetris.
What doesn't make a good taser shield? Answer: a one-year-old boy. At least that's what police thought, when a 21-year-old woman used her baby to shield a man from taser fire this week. Cue a charge for endangering the welfare of a child, and another one for resisting arrest.
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