My CNET handler woke me early on Friday.
"It's those corpse-eating robot people," he barked down the phone. "They're after you."
"But I'm not dead yet," I replied. "I just look pretty rough first thing in the morning."
Still, he made me stagger to my laptop and the Robotic Technology site. There, I espied the words: "IMPORTANT MESSAGE CONCERNING EATR."
For those of you who have been asleep since Tuesday, the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot, or EATR, is a steam-powered robot being developed for military purposes. Its claim to fame is that it can "can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically based energy sources)."
I had noticed that the boffins at Fox News had suggested that this robot would therefore be free to munch on dead bodies. This seems to have been chewed over quite vigorously at Robotic Technology.
Here is what its important message said Friday:
In response to rumors circulating the Internet on sites such as FoxNews.com, FastCompany.com, and CNET News about a 'flesh eating' robot project, Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. (Pink Sheets: CYPW) and Robotic Technology Inc. (RTI) would like to set the record straight: This robot is strictly vegetarian."
Well, now. I know many folks who tell me they are strictly vegetarian, and then I see them over at In-N-Out Burger sampling more than the lettuce. So please forgive me if my skeptical nerve registers an involuntary fizzing sound.
However, the robotic folk are keen to point out that "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 important message concludes with the words of Harry Schoell, the CEO of Cyclone Power Technologies (The EATR project is a joint venture between Robotic Technology and Cyclone Power Technologies):
"We completely understand the public's concern about futuristic robots feeding on the human population, but that is not our mission. We are focused on demonstrating that our engines can create usable, green power from plentiful, renewable plant matter. The commercial applications alone for this earth-friendly energy solution are enormous."
It is not my mission to be concerned. It just sometimes happens, you know?