Russia’s deputy prime minister insists gun-toting robot is not a Terminator

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin took to Twitter last week to both praise and defend his country’s gun-toting space robot, FEDOR (Final Experimental Demonstration Object Research).

“Robot platform FEDOR showed shooting skills with two hands,” he wrote, as translated by the Independent.

“We are not creating a Terminator, but artificial intelligence that will be of great practical significance in various fields,” he added.

In Rogozin’s defense, gun slinging ain’t the only skill in FEDOR’s repertoire. Initially developed as a rescue robot, engineers have also trained FEDOR to screw in light bulbs, use keys, and drive cars.

But despite Rogozin’s statement, the video posted online emphasizes the machine’s military applications.

In the video, which begins with a robotic tank obliterating targets with a light machine gun and explosives, FEDOR is shown dual-wielding pistols and knocking out targets with ease. Rogozin took to Facebook to insist that the task was simply a demonstration of FEDOR’s dexterity and decision-making algorithms.

After two-and-a-half years of development, FEDOR made headlines in 2016 by power-drilling into a pile of cinder blocks. At that time Russia announced plans to send the humanoid robot to the International Space Station to assist astronauts by 2021. Some day FEDOR is expected to work in environments that are deemed too dangerous for humans.

FEDOR won’t be the first robotic astronaut in space and it won’t likely be the last. It will follow in the footsteps of Russia’s SAR-400 and SAR-4001, the United States’ Robonaut and Robonaut 2, Germany’s AILA, and China’s Xiaotian. NASA is also developing an advanced astrobot called Valkyrie, which the agency hopes will help construct Martian colonies prior to manned missions. Meanwhile, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is researching small construction robots for colonizing Mars.

Product Review

Metro Exodus is a journey through a nuclear hellscape that lures you in

Metro Exodus moves the action out of the Moscow subway system and across a devastated Russia, but 4A Games’ latest shooter didn’t forget what made the series so beloved in the first place.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘Refabricator’ lets astronauts recycle 3D-printed tools to make new ones

The International Space Station just received a fancy new gadget in the form of a Refabricator, a machine capable of 3D printing using recycled plastic materials. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Emerging Tech

InSight’s heat probe will dig 16 feet beneath the surface of Mars

New images from NASA's InSight mission to Mars have confirmed that the lander succeeded in setting the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument onto the surface, from where a self-hammering spike will burrow downwards.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.