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DARPA's 'Avatar project' aims to give soldiers surrogate robots, make James Cameron proud

In a fevered mash up of blockbuster films directed by James Cameron, DARPA is looking to put soldier controlled bi-pedal robots on the battlefield. Think Terminator meets Avatar. The agency has set aside $7 million of it's $2.8 billion 2012 budget to develop an "Avatar program" that will "develop interfaces and algorithms to enable a soldier to effectively partner with a semi-autonomous bi-pedal machine and allow it to act as the soldier's surrogate." DARPA isn't talking about simple remote control rigs, either -- these 'bots are being designed to clear rooms, and facilitate sentry control and combat casualty recovery. The new budget also sets aside $4.1 million to design laser countermeasures to protect military weapons, well, lasers -- ensuring that the future's robot soldiers will be nigh indestructible when they rebel against their human hosts.