Italy sends swarm of robot spiders into space

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.


And finally…

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.

Julia Sagar
Content director, special projects

Julia specialises in ecommerce at Future. For the last four years, she’s split her time between leading TechRadar’s crack team of deal editors - covering all the biggest sales of the year including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon Prime Day - and helping the audiences of Future’s consumer tech and lifestyle brands (TechRadar, Tom's Guide, T3, Marie Claire, Woman & Home and more) find the best products and services for their needs and budget.

A former editor of global design website Creative Bloq, she has over 15 years’ experience in online and print journalism, and was part of the team that launched TechRadar way back in the day. When she isn't reviewing mattresses (she’s tested more than she cares to remember), or sharing tips on how to save money in the latest sales, she can usually be found writing about anything from green energy to graphic design.