9 bits of scary Terminator tech that already exist

6. Hydrobots

We all know that electricity and water don't mix, but Terminator Salvation throws the idea of hydrobots into the frame.

While the water robots in Salvation are likely to snip your head off without a moment's notice, the ones in the desert of the real are fish-shaped and made by some plucky British scientists.

Terminator's hydrobots

LIQUID METAL: Even out of the water, the Hydrobot is pretty fearsome

Rory Doyle, Senior Researcher at engineering company BMT Group, and Essex university are the creators and apparently made the robot's fish-like as they were "building on a design created by hundreds of millions of years' worth of evolution which is incredibly energy efficient." You can't really argue with that.

Instead of the robo-fish taking over the Thames, however, the carp-shaped robots will swim round the coast of Spain in a bid to monitor the pollution in the water.

At £20,000 a piece, the shoal of five fish are equipped with chemical sensors, Wi-Fi technology and will be a massive five-feet long. Apparently, no amount of batter will make these beauties edible, but it does go to show that fish and (micro)chips will always be a perfect combination.

7. House-sized robots

Not one to do things by halves, the new Terminator flick also introduces the world to The Harvester. This machine is the size of a house and has the sole job of plucking out human specimens for the more intelligent robots to do experiments on.

The harvester

THE HARVESTER: Someone wasn't happy with 7 Eleven's fuel prices

While there's nothing like that in existence – other than the Harvester chain of restaurants, which instead plucks out human specimens for unsuccessful food experiments – house-sized robots are very much a reality.

Enter the Robosaurus. Originally built in 1988, the machine was constructed by Monster Robots, Inc, and is a mainstay of motorshow events in America.

Stats-wise the Robosaurus is an impressive 40-foot tall and weighs in at around 30 tonnes.

Instead of harvesting humans, the man-controlled bot has a penchant for cars and the occasional plane. It has even starred in the movies – the probably never-watched Waking in Reno – and had a (disguised) bit-part in The Simpsons.

8. Automated motorbikes

The final Terminator Salvation exclusive robot is quite possibly the coolest machine in the whole series.

Nicknamed Moto-Terminators, these robot-hybrids double as automated motorbikes whose job it is to ram any signs of the Resistance off of the road. A bit like ordinary motorcyclists, then.


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The idea of non-manned bikes is an interesting one, which actually has its roots in reality. A company aptly named RoboTech has developed the ultimate boys' toy – an application that can turn a motorbike (or any sort of full-size vehicle for that matter) into an automated, self-propelling machine.

One group of Berkeley students in 2004 used the technology to produce something called the GhostRider Robot.

The vehicle was created to compete in the Grand Challenge – a 50-mile off-road race of fully self-navigating vehicles, sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration (DARPA), which was made to "accelerate the development of autonomous vehicle technologies."

9. Real-life Skynet

In a move that both tempted fate and proved the UK's military brains have watched too many robot-based popcorn flicks for their own good, last year the UK installed an all-powerful communication platform for armies around the world to use, called Skynet.

The £3.6 billion programme allows military personal to communicate with each other and is made up of three massive satellites currently orbiting the Earth. These are called Skynet 5A, 5B and 5C.

Terminator skynet

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"Skynet 5 is about two-and-a-half-times more capable than the previous system, and it also gives us the ability to use not just voice communication but also data communication," Patrick Wood from spacecraft manufacturer EADS Astrium told the BBC.

"So, computers can talk directly to computers, as well giving us pictures and real-time video images."

Reports that immediately after the interview he was kidnapped by a cocky teenager, a crazy mum and a man looking remarkably like the Governor of California are still unconfirmed.

And one that might almost exist: time travel

When the Large Hadron Collider was turned on back in September 2008, some people thought that its arrival would be the key to time travel.

To cut a long and tedious theory short, a report by the New Scientist at the front-end of last year suggested the machine could be the key to travelling through time. The reason: time travel is apparently only possible after the creation of the first time machine. And that first time machine is the subatomic particle-hunting LHC.

Large hadron colider

TIME BANDIT: The LHC may hold the key to time travel - if it ever works

We would like to prove this theory right or wrong, but the machine broke. And it's still currently being fixed and won't be turned back on till September.

So, if in the autumn you see some weird naked dude asking for your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle, then we've only got the crazy scientists in Geneva to blame.

Terminator Salvation is out now in cinemas, courtesy of Sony Pictures

Images copyright: Sony Pictures, unless otherwise stated

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.