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Care Bears on the battlefield

Care Bears
If the Care Bears had been military robots they might have looked something like this

When the legal team working for Wikileaks' Julian Assange is whingeing about things being leaked, you know we're through the rabbit hole: reality is stranger, and often funnier, than fiction.

You don't see many bears on battlefields, but that may soon change: BEAR, the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot, is a funny-looking robot with a deadly serious mission. It's designed to rescue wounded soldiers without risking anyone else: as The Economist explains: "Killing a soldier removes one enemy from the fray. Wounding him removes three: the victim and the two who have to carry him from the field of battle."

Rescuing people is just one of the things BEAR's hydraulic arms are designed to do, though: as inventor Daniel Theobald says, "it would be completely impractical if you had robots with a sole duty to rescue soldiers." That's why BEAR doubles as a sex-bot. We made that last bit up.

When Kinects connect

Oliver Kreylos is awfully good at hacking Kinect sensors, and his latest wheeze takes him into Star Wars territory: by combining two Kinects he can create 3D models of people and stick them into 3D worlds such as games.

TWIN KINECT SENSORS: Put people into games. It's like you're in Tron, or something

Add a Wiimote and you've got the perfect platform for lightsabre battles - and a really, really awful video clip. It's easy to mock, but this could be a glimpse of the future.

Things that make you go ewwwww

Call of Duty fans call the latest instalment CODBLOPS - but that could also be the sound they make when they play its successor. Clemson University psychologist Eric Muth thinks that games could soon induce motion sickness. Combine Kinect and Move-style systems with laggy head-mounted displays and you've got games where grenades aren't the only things you'll be hurling.


COLLECT THE PILLS: Will you need to stock up on these when you're playing the next generation of games?

"Helmet-mounted devices are going to be found everywhere as video gamers and the public get caught up in virtual reality," Muth says, pointing a finger at 3D TVs too. "We need to know more about the side effects and how to deal with them."

Fun with furniture

Good news for anyone who looked at Microsoft's Surface and thought "This snooker-sized touch machine is all very impressive, but I wish it was much bigger": the bend desk is positively gargantuan. A kind of Salvador Dali iPad, the desk is a prototype that shows how an enormous curved multi-touch display could literally make your PC part of the furniture.

THE BEND DESK: Shows what an iPad would look like in Salvador Dali's house

It's all very impressive, but we wouldn't want to carry it up the stairs.

Calling Wall-E

There's so much junk spinning around in space that it's getting downright dangerous up there. According to, things are so bad that the nonprofit RAND think-tank wants a "superfund" to clean up the mess. It proposes "making space polluters pay".

"The entire space community needs to agree that purposely creating orbital debris is not acceptable behaviour," RAND says, sounding rather like a parent discovering jammy handprints on the sofa.