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Dawn of the corpse-eating robots?

A military contractor in Maryland is working on an Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot--EATR--that will, according to a report, eat corpses.

In the future, we will need robots to do our dirty work.

In the future, we will need robots to do our clean work, too.

So in the future, we will need our robots to live, like farmers in centuries gone by, off the fat of the land.

One contractor to the Pentagon, Robotic Technology Inc., is already forging ahead with creating foraging robots.

According to its Web site, the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot--or EATR--is "an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling."

We have all resorted to unconventional re-fueling once or twice in our lives. However, I would very much like to use Robotic Technology's precise terminology so as not to affect your edification.

Will Corpse-eating robots really one day be sent out along battlefields? CC Army Mil/Flickr

"The system obtains its energy by foraging--engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating," says the Web site.

Now I am not a scientist, and I'm concerned that the EATR will be steam-powered, but thankfully there are people at Fox News who seem to understand these things.

May I therefore pass on their speculation that this creation will be able to gorge on corpses?

According to Robotic Technology, EATR "can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources)".

Ergo, Fox News tells us, it could dine on dead bodies. Our carcasses and those of other animals are, apparently, full of energy.

And given that EATR is being created for some military purposes, there should be plenty of battlefield corpses for it to feed on.

I don't know about you, but I'm feeling a little queasy about this.

When soldiers die on the battlefield, don't their loved ones want their bodies returned to home soil? Is Fox's suggestion, therefore, that EATR will only feed on human roadkill from the road team?

It all seems a little odd to me, but I know there will be many of you out there who will be able to bring some objective and clinical science to this difficult moral area.