Tales from the Water Cooler: Termite be a solution to all of this

I've given robots a hard time, but perhaps they deserve a second chance

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The Independent Online

I like to think of this space as the newspaper’s waiting room; somewhere you can gather your thoughts as you prepare to leap into i.

And, just like at the dentist, we like to provide something for you to read while you steel your nerves to face the terror awaiting you next door or, as we like to call it, Will Dean’s i Quiz. Anyway, within these columns I have, once or twice, peddled my paranoia about groups within society which (I maintain) are poised to mount a coup. My most deserving target were cats, but I recall giving robots a hard time recently and, in light of the latest news from the BBC, this behaviour shames me. It seems our metal pals could prove beneficial, if the apparent end of the world continues to be so utterly soggy or, as one famous philosopher once put it: “Armageddon really sick of this bloody rain.”

So, with parts of the country still flooded, you can imagine my reaction when I read the following quote from a group of boffins who have invented tiny robots which behave like... termites.

“We’re not going to Mars anytime soon, but a more medium-term application might be to use similar robots in flood zones to build levees out of sandbags,” said Dr Justin Werfel of Harvard University.

Robot termites rebuilding Britain? I like the sound of that…