Company: No, our robots don’t eat corpses

July 20, 2009: Just to clear things up — Cyclone Power Technologies says its robotic technology “is strictly vegetarian.”

In what is either a bizarre rumor being quashed — or perhaps a clever marketing ploy — Cyclone cites big news sites including The Register, Fox, and CNet that had handwringingly reported about the company’s Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, a DARPA-funded a “beta biomass engine system” for which it just completed first stage, that requires no refueling, at least by conventional means. To clear the air, Cyclone sent out a PR explaining that the “EATR” gobbles up “small plant-based items” such as twigs, grass clippings and wood chips. The technology involves consuming the fuel sources ranging from biodiesel to syngas and even solar through a “compact heat-regenerative process.”

The list does not, it stresses, include “human bodies” as has been suggested (though it seems most of the offending stories have been modified or rebutted) “Desecration of the dead is a war crime under Article 15 of the Geneva Conventions, and is certainly not something sanctioned by DARPA, Cyclone or RTI,” the company points out in a statement.

“We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter,” reassured Cyclone CEO Harry Schoell, adding that “the commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous.”


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