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Twilight Zone comes to life for the airline industry...

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Any of you remember that classic episode of the Twilight Zone where Captain Kirk is terrorized by a bizarre creature out on the wings of his aircraft during his flight? (What was that craft, anyways - anybody know?) Well, the future has finally caught up. Well, not really, but it made me think of it:There's a company in Seattle called Advanced Robotic Vehicles that has designed a robot currently crawling away on the Louvre art museum in Paris doing its window washing duties.So what does that have to do with the Twilight Zone or aircraft? Well, the robot wasn't really designed for window washing:"But while the Louvre deal is its first big contract, the company's goal is to apply the same technology to inspecting and cleaning airplanes. The machine can motor upside down and backward over the crafts, using tools that detect cracks and other signs of deterioration beneath the surface with pinpoint accuracy. The company has demonstrated its robot to Boeing and Lockheed Martin and has been asked by Boeing to do another next month. "This is my dream," Seemann said. "Doing the washing is just a means to the end."So, what does it look like? Well:"Aesthetically, the LL1 might have taken a page out of the "BattleBots" design book. An industrial-strength squeegee and rotating brush are mounted on the robot's hood."Pretty neat eh? That is, until you spy one on the end of the wing at 30 thousand as it goes berserk and starts ripping out the wires! Well, maybe not... Maybe. :-),Elrond

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