Asterisk insect robot demos prey-grabbing talents

Humans, this is your fate: scooped up by a terrifying, insectile robot and dumped into the organic power-reclamation unit or, if you're lucky, the breeding vats. Researchers at Osaka University have developed an omni-directional robot called Asterisk, capable of grabbing and carrying prey DigInfo reports, and perfect for when the AIs revolt and begin to see us as the fleshy Duracells we really are.

The six-legged robot usually uses all of its limbs to walk, but it can also repurpose two of them as grabbing arms to grab things. The researchers have several different versions, including models with wheel-tipped legs for faster movement, some which can climb up mesh walls and even let out a web-like rope for abseiling down to the ground, and, still in the labs, a cartwheeling model just in case there are fast-running children to be rounded up for processing.

As for the envisaged use, for search and rescue missions, the 'bot can lower its body and still move so as to scuttle through small spaces, and be outfitted with pressure sensors on the leg-tips to more precisely control what's picked up. The quad-jointed limbs mean it can work just as easily either way up, so forget about flipping it onto its back before dashing off to join the nearest resistance cell.

No word on when we might expect to see these Asterisk robots escape the lab, but frankly we're okay if the Osaka University team takes a little while longer before unleashing them in the wild.