Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"You have to budget the number of fuzzy rules you use to control a system. It turns out, you can state the optimality principle in three words: 'patch the bumps.'"
- Bart Kosko

Digger Worm  
  A robot shaped like a fat snake, or worm; used for mining.  

A small planet named Botea has IIIB diamonds, selectively conductive crystals that are used to make kilolayered computer chips. Handily, they are not far below the surface, buried in nice soft coal deposits. What sort of machine do you send down below the surface?

"I think this is the worm." He knelt down and began clearing the chunks of yellow coal away. Under it was the smooth gray of the worm's grinding head...

"Where are the exploders?" she said.

"Inside the mouth. We won't be able to get at them, but the controls should be right here, at the back of its head." He swept away more rubble to reveal a beveled rectangle and flipped up the control plate. "When a worm's digging a new trail, it spits out an exploder, backs up to a safe distance, and detonates it..."

The worm gave a low growl and shudder and reared its gray metal head clear of the coal rubble...

From With Friends Like These, by Connie Willis.
Published by Tor in 1985
Additional resources -

This item appears in one of the short stories in Berserker's Base, by Fred Saberhagen.

Thanks to Tim Morrison for suggesting this item.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from With Friends Like These
  More Ideas and Technology by Connie Willis
  Tech news articles related to With Friends Like These
  Tech news articles related to works by Connie Willis

Digger Worm-related news articles:
  - Snake Robot Roundup: Part Two
  - Robotic Fire Hose Anna Konda
  - Pipeline Explorer Untethered Robotic Snake

Articles related to Engineering
Galaxy Note 7 Kill Switch?
Solar Geoengineering Spray Cools, Heals
Nuclear Batteries Based On Diamonds Last Millennia
MIT Researchers Predict The Future From Still Photos

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

More News

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'

ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'

EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'

AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.