July 11, 2003
Tetra Vaal

[tetra robot]

This video (15 MB, quicktime) is someone's vision of a future police robot keeping order in some kind of shantytown [via boingboing]. Too bad the www.tv-robotics.co.za url doesn't work.

It looks silly (dig the HUD displaying output from a DOS DIR command--so predictable), but the groundwork is obviously being laid.

(If the video links don't take you directly to the quicktime video, it means that someone doesn't get the web. Try copying and pasting the video url directly.)

Posted by jjwiseman at July 11, 2003 07:08 PM

did someone say Terminator?

Posted by: Nick on April 24, 2004 02:18 PM

Bah I've seen the robots they're about to come out with nowadays and kicking one of these things asses in real life would be just as easy as cow tipping. (honda asimo)

Posted by: wreslur on April 25, 2004 10:50 AM

nah ah..this shit is too freaky for me...i dunno. now im kinda scared to live to see the future...

Posted by: Trinity Slash on April 27, 2004 03:27 PM

This is nothing compared to the realities technology is bringing. This robot is too simple to be something worth awing over in my eyes.

Just wait and see what the future holds, again i say, this is nothing.

Posted by: Methidox on April 27, 2004 10:11 PM

you think they're nothing but thats what they're suposed to be, disposable unmaned combat units...beleave me killing a human is like cow tipping too...but humans cant be repaired which is why these things would be great

Posted by: Spankeh on April 28, 2004 03:08 PM

guys. this is cgi. Not real. computer generated.

Posted by: davo on April 28, 2004 08:48 PM

The movie is CGI. The police robot is very practical. We've got bipeds now it's just a matter of time before we get one that is agile.

The movie, I believe, was made by www.theembassyvfx.com

The Embassy Visual FX. That's where I got this video from.

Posted by: Gerard Joseph on April 29, 2004 04:00 AM

The GCI and Animation are great, but this is one of the most sickest commercials I have ever seen in my life. Not only that 3rd world countries are abused for cheap and inhumane labour and are often kept in instable political conditions, making it possible for foully weapon dealers to make dirty money with the death of kids. Now they are also supposed to be the place for a field test for a motionless robotic
militia? At who the hell are these robots shooting anyway? I don't think it's other robots!
And to whom is this commercial supposed to be adressed?
This is just sick. Plain sick.
I don't know in which world the makers of this commercial live, but it's definitely not this world or else they would have recognized the insipidity of this piece.

Posted by: Hackworth on April 29, 2004 12:37 PM


Posted by: MADDAN on April 30, 2004 02:23 PM

jesus christ be a little less dramatic, this isn't the apocolypse.. you wanna see the apocylpse look at that nike commercial where the gaint shoe transforms into a robot... those are what you should be worried about.. shoe robots

Posted by: havo on May 1, 2004 02:58 AM

Their site's down, and I've had no luck finding a mirror, but damn, it looks fantastic from the stills.

Why's everyone getting to melodramatic? It's a tech demo pretending to be a commercial...

Posted by: born2respawn on May 3, 2004 01:46 PM

yeah um..........hack worth......your fucking retarded.......i used to live in the country where that video is supposed to take place.......its not as bad as they mak eit look....and obviously the robots are shotting at criminals........so gro w some fucking balls you pussy bitch

Posted by: hackworthisafuckingtard on May 6, 2004 04:08 PM

This video is no worse than any other movie about robots (terminator, matrix) I've ever seen. What's the big deal? I personally thought the video was cool. The way it looks like they used an actual person to act out the scenes so that the animators could get the movements and physics right. Pretty cool.

Furthermore, most sci/fi stories that involve robots going out of control involve that robot becoming sentient. Please! For science fiction, I love it. For reality, it's pure nonsense. A sophisticated robot is no more likely to become sentient and rise up against it's master than my desktop computer or my toaster.

Some of you need to relax (Hackworth, MADDAN). And MADDAN, the robot would be a tool, like a wrench. You don't see the government using government owned wrenchs to take your car apart just to terrorize you do you?

Relax and enjoy someone's cg animation ability.

Posted by: goose poop on May 7, 2004 09:04 AM

Actually, much of the technology you see will be available in the distant future. If you are actually curious about what the U.S. is investigating check out DARPA (type in Google). DARPA has an interest in robotic solutions, stealth, exoskeletons, nano tech, etc. Also check out Future Combat Systems from the U.S. Army, which will go online come 2010. We're a few generations off from where we will see a robot like this (I would state maybe 50-100 years).

Posted by: SuperDave on May 13, 2004 09:32 AM

First, the Patriot Act doesn't say anything thats new to the US. All it did was solidify existing laws to deal with terrorists, many programs which were already in effect for handling the mafia, oooooOOOooOOO scary huh?

And to the "they aren't shooting at other robots" they are advertising it as a police robot, to keep stability, not as an army to take over and opress, though they COULD be made to do both.

Posted by: Some of you kids are retarded on May 14, 2004 05:58 AM


Posted by: MADDAN on May 14, 2004 06:02 PM

The movie is cool,and in fact the robots we have now are closer than you think to what you saw.The honda robot is really moving forward by leaps and bounds.Now think of all the things that you have seen on the web concerning robots...some very cool.There is so much that you will not see yet.The military has things going on right now,and robot devolopment is coming futher than you and i know.Now even if they can't give the robot the "a brain",that doesn't mean that someone can't sit at a computer and control it(hummmm "like" people who play shooting games).It's time to wake up.One last note-the honda robot has hands and it could hold a gun.THE TRUTH IS:THIS "TYPE" OF "THING" IS HAPPENING....SOON!

Posted by: project J on May 16, 2004 02:27 AM

A lot of you are looking at this the wrong way. Its inevitable that human technology will produce robotic and eventually genetically engineered life forms superior to us not only physically, but mentally as well. At that point there will be absolutely nothing we can do. Humanity will put up a fight, but in the end we'll be totally fucked. This is in no way bad though, because it seems EXTREMELY obvious to me that this is nothing more than evolution taking the next step. Technology IS nature. We had a pretty good run, as far as species on this planet go. By the way, everyone should do shrooms.

Posted by: LUKE on May 16, 2004 11:26 PM


I enjoyed your comment although it had an element of paranoia. Although robots are capable of logic, they lack emotion and instinct, which could be their downfall. You and I will be dead long before any of this horseshit occurs.

Posted by: Daveyman on May 17, 2004 11:51 AM

Blimey. Some of you lot have quite serious issues that need to be resolved. The film is an advert, showing off (as Gen. Joseph says) how good the lads over at Embassy Effects are.
And whats all this about third world countries? Do any of you actually know where it was made? Johannesburg! Not very thrid world...

Posted by: Flippin eck on May 25, 2004 04:33 AM

MADDAN, youre an idiot.
Awesome video. I plan to make artifical life at least as complicated as these things, within my lifetime. though, i think traditional robotics are a waste of time. I think the best route is ground up with nanobiology, combining human inteligence and simulated evolution to create beings of the future.
Im not a fan of police, but i still enjoy the video. its over the top politically incorrect like it might be done as satire, so i can appreciate it.

Posted by: Rodger Christ on June 3, 2004 04:41 PM

Even the lord says WOW! to this. The terminator lives!!!

Posted by: Jesus on June 23, 2004 10:26 AM

Madden! This is your lord. Stop wasting your time! I am not real!

Posted by: on July 20, 2004 05:36 PM

--- At who the hell are these robots shooting anyway? I don't think it's other robots! ---

The same people the real cops would be shooting at, dumbass...

Posted by: Some Guy on August 20, 2004 08:34 PM

All you people are a bunch of idiots.
except of course a few of you who really peer into the ramifications and oversimplifcations of the video. its just some junk footage, edited together with some sound bites with some cg work by a few people. the best thing about the technical is the camera tracking software.
a robot like that could never exsist in that world, it would be destroyed, why, because people would have no trouble just shooting at it for no reason.

Posted by: Frankwannabee on September 22, 2004 03:44 PM

Ok folks, the fact of the matter is that we are getting to the point where things like that will be happening, and very soon. Someone has already developed synthetic muscle, and balance is getting better and better. Heres a little food for thought: If Asimo is what they're releasing now, think of what they AREN'T releasing, or what governments are working on. TV's vision isn't that far off. Also, to those who think this is the end of the world, think about two things:

1. Asimov's principals are like the Ten Comandments of robotics. No engineer in his right mind would make it so a robot could harm a person, because the rules would be up to interpritation. If anything, the robots would be remote-controled.

2. Three little letters can destroy even the most advanced robot: EMP. Unless they deside to make the thing 50 tons by lead-plating it, an emp will make the thing nothing more than a realy expencive sculpture.

Posted by: Wraith on September 22, 2004 04:20 PM

I have to admit, if this thing was real...not only police work, war as well, would be taken to the next level. But this is still a concept and we're only about 45% of the way there.

Posted by: Comdr. Hao on October 9, 2004 08:18 PM

Jesus f#$king christ maddon!! did you clap while u typed that?!

Posted by: Ross on November 9, 2004 03:28 AM

MADDAN. Shut the hell up. You religious nits would be the first to use something like this for war, and don't ever start with that Jesus bullshit. You can take your salvation and shove it up your ass. This movie ROCKS. And if I ever get to privately own one of those things first thing I'm going to do is eliminate religious extremism from the world.

Posted by: Dreyfuss on November 18, 2004 11:27 PM

God damn, like 40 comments and only 2 or 3 people have actually understood it. The point isn't about making police robots. It's made by the embassy visual effects. Note the words visual effects. The whole point is to show that they can make photorealistic cgi and mix it with live footage. These robots don't exist, they aren't going to kill you and there is no plan to make police robots (atleast not this one).

Posted by: Dan on December 5, 2004 10:39 PM

For a minute there, I thought the video was somebody's live-action version of Ghost in the Shell. The shanty-town scene where the robot overlooks the market looked a lot like the chase scene through the market.

It's a nice video.

Posted by: Grimrider on February 6, 2005 05:21 PM

I think this whole piece is interesting. It has several layers and I like all the comments because they are all pretty much right except for the personal attacks.

1. Yes the point capitalism wise is that they have made photrealistic CGI and mixed it with live footage. But capitalism isn't the only point.

2. Yes Governments of the world in particular the United States definitely DO want police robots, and robot soldiers. The Defense.Advanced.Research.Project or DARPA admits to spending money on this research as Super Dave Pointed out.

3. Yeah it might be that Robots are human controlled always and that A.I. is very far off. However, since when have humans shown any compunction from killing one another. Especially people who tend to take their wars into third world countries rather then the white or rich asian world but instead take it to the global south of Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia.
So if some detached former Quake III player sits down for the goverment and controls a robot like this is it any better then a terminator esque scene? The person whom the robot was killing would be in big trouble unless he had emp technology however, how do we know the government hasn't already solved this problem? Electromagnetic shielding must be high on any technology dependant government's list of problems to solve. Surely any hightechnology country must be worried about EMP's effecting their military so the millitary must be working on this.

4. The government already uses robots in Police and the millitary ususally to asses bomb threats but on occasion the police use them during hostage situations. They are currently in use in Iraq as well go to the BBC and do a search about this. This is not a new idea but the technology is final getting to where this is feasible. In these cases a human is in control and can fire or not fire as their concious or more likely their superior officer directs them.

5+.So yeah its only a commercial but there are profound Social implications. In my opinion as someone else stated this is probably the directors pollitical point to use over the top usage of shanty towns and a robot likely firing on non white people. If this wasn't meant as satire the people are a bit off. Oh yes and finally just because a robot is firing at criminals does NOT make it not scary. As governments become more oppressive as they have been it is very likely that people will be increasingly less likely to do some of the things required. Although that might be wishful thinking humans are plenty capable of slaughter and mass murder without the help of robots so at the end of the day a robot shooting you being controlled by a human is really no different then a human shooting you also being controlled by a human he calls sir. So there you have it folks new technology but more of the same. And robotics is NOTHING compared to the horror of nanotech and biotech. Yeah who needs a robot apocalypse when monsanto just decides to stop feeding people buying their liscened GMO terminator seeds. Humans not robots are the problem we need to evolve and get out of this stage of spiritual adolescence. Our spirits, minds, and hearts need to catch up with our technological power if that doesn't happen its all just a dice roll to see how we use technology to fuck things up. Global warming, bioweps, Greedy eugenical corporations witholding food, and any other number of apocalyptic visions.

Yep we need to collectively take a deep breath...and come into the moment. The only time is now, the only place is hear. Let your calm mind be a candle in the dark. Peace and happiness is as contagious as any disease. You have to dream the future before it will happen. Lets start talking about how we can grow up and use our tremendous gifts to better eachother and our planet. We can do it..we have to and we will.

Posted by: Jasper on February 8, 2005 03:59 AM

Someone on another site pointed out another extremely practical point which is that CGI of this quality can be used to create or distort information for propaganda purposes. This has been a worry of mine for awhile and I didn't even think of this while watching the video as it is late but it may be the most disturbing implication of this video. But our destiny is ours to create and the solution is the same as always dreaming, thinking and then doing.

Posted by: Jasper on February 8, 2005 04:08 AM

We don't have much to worry about...apparently these robots will run on DOS! If you look at the screen overlay of "data" from the robots POV shots and pause it, it's just a DIR command output of the directory "C:\DATA".
You think they could have put a little more effort into that "special" effect.

Posted by: Fred on February 9, 2005 08:39 PM

I just have to applaud Jasper for making the most sensible comment thus far.

Posted by: Kenton on February 15, 2005 08:55 PM

holly dog shit......all who think this is not a possibillity in the future should go fuck them self, dont u guys ever watch the history channel, oh , im sry, some people dont believe in tv, now im olso saying that i dont reliy on everything that the media sayes is true....... but so far i have not heard any one mention ArEa 51.....why would they not want us to ever figure out what the fuck they are doing in there, could this be the begining of the a new sociaty were wana-be-anarchist would just get shot on target and no one would even be able to get away with playing with bottel rockets in illinois and buncha other places, or is this the begining of the end.... were, in the werst case possible the robots hade a problem and started getting emotions just like humans and start creating a new world of mass destruction and chaos.....


Posted by: some dude no one knows on March 9, 2005 05:45 PM

Madden you should go easy on the hitting over the head...you just leave bumps and bruises that does not help in your witness...

however to the rest please don't bash Jesus, We all have faith in something, ie: technology, family, wife/husband, gun, or even lack of faith...Yet we just believe what the most validated book in history has to say regarding Faith and it being in Jesus...

At any rate, if any of you do a search on military nanotechnology, you will see some interesting developments...robots are already deployed in afgan and iraq...and doing a great job as of late...although they are not bipeds...things like the segway with its balance and yes the honda robot, show that we are nearing such a reality...

still, a human will have to be in control...A I hasn't really caught up with the robotic motion technology...it seems God made our minds pretty complicated to duplicate synthetically. "smiles".

Posted by: charles on March 10, 2005 03:04 PM

oh yeah, the rotoscoping and cg is quite realistic the lighting being the best!!!

Posted by: chachi on March 10, 2005 03:07 PM

That's some sweet cg... wish I could do stuff like that...

Posted by: on March 11, 2005 05:04 PM

AWSOME CGI, and love the way they've used the lightings in this movie. Picture Gundam Wing in the big screans with this kind of CGI. SWEET!

Posted by: on March 11, 2005 08:55 PM

reading this thread was more entertaining than the video
good luck with the doom, appocolipse, terminators, cylons and flying metal squids

Posted by: duder on March 24, 2005 12:08 PM

Task force 160th Special Operations (U.S. Army has Access to 18 fully autonomas and yeas armed robots that are designed for patrol and combat operations. They are however controlled by a "pilot" or operator much the same way as a predator drone. A malfunction is much less dramatic than people think, basicly you have to drive or fly out to retrieve the equivalant of an unconcious 760 lb man.

Posted by: Ultio on March 26, 2005 02:10 PM

if you wanna know what was used to make the goddamn video, goto


and madden.... shut the fuck up, dont be a bible pusher, let me get sent to hell by our so called "loving" god because hes never showed me the fuckin truth

Posted by: zac on March 28, 2005 10:30 PM

grow some balls madden

Posted by: still some one nobody knows on April 3, 2005 11:18 AM

Happened across this "discussion" after viewing the video. The CGI is amazing from the perspective that:
a) The lighting effects on the CG character that match the background video to a T
b) The well done motion capture
c) The textures mapping is suppurb.

As for some of the other points...

"...You religious nits would be the first to use something like this for war...And if I ever get to privately own one of those things first thing I'm going to do is eliminate religious extremism from the world." [dreyfus]

Does anyone else see the the irony in this statement?

Posted by: fezick on June 2, 2005 03:14 PM

Sorry if this was already posted. I'm too lazy to read through all the talks of politics.

If anyone watches Japanese animation, they would see the similarities of the police robots in the feature video here and the police robots in the Japanese animation, Patlabor.

When I first saw the video, I thought it was an animation made to live-action movie. The CGI is superb! The robots visor and the "bunny" ear-piece really looked like an early version of Patlabor.

I included a URL for some information about Patlabor.

Posted by: Charles on June 15, 2005 06:42 PM

You know Charles, I was thinking the same thing, although it felt more like Appleseed to me.

To you people talking about robots taking over the world: possible, but unlikely. There have been WAY too many speculations in the form of books (Asimov) and movies (Terminator, Matrix etc) to name a couple among a multitude, for the developers of these technologies to ignore the possibilities of their creations running out of control. It may be possible for machines to become sentient in our lifetime, especially with the relatively recent development of holographic high density storage. All that's needed now is quantum computing technology (computers that work using light instead of electrons) to provide the raw power needed to even come close to any analogue of sentience.
Incidentally, to the poster commenting about EMP, the proposed quantum systems, when fully matured in design, would be nearly completely immune to such a burst, since EMP disrupts only equipment that relies on electrical (electron-driven) technology. Sure, the EMP generates electricity over metallic surfaces as well, much like a microwave oven, but it would be easy enough to guide THAT aspect of the blast around the shell and into the ground or capacitive cell for later discharge, or even for use by the unit itself!

To religious nut(s) (MADDEN) I would say get a freaking life. If there really were a God (won't say either way myself until I see REAL proof), do you honestly think he would want you to spread the good word in such a manner? One thing nearly every religion teaches around the globe and across all cultures is tolerance. "Love thy neighbor" and "do unto others". We are so unnerved by the word "terrorism" anymore because of someone else's intolerance to the American way of life, and our religious beliefs. "No God but Allah" is written across the buildings of many middle-eastern-occupied buildings here in Detroit, and that's fine for them. I will accept that they believe that. I accept that you believe in God so strongly. But don't you think for one moment that you coming onto some random messageboard and posting in CAPS is going to scare us "Godless heathens" into suddenly seeing things your way. By all means, follow your heart and share the good news you've discovered, but as soon as you force your beliefs onto others as you've tried here, you will only be ridiculed and viewed as another religious extremist. Remember, that's also what we call those terrorists that are so hell-bent on scaring the bejesus (no pun intended) out of us.

Having said all that, I shall move on to say that this is probably the best CG work I've ever seen. I watched it through about three different times before I figured out that it wasn't some guy in a suit doing some nonsense piece for the web. Extremely impressive lighting, and the camera-tracking is dead-on. That clip is getting saved into my little collection of cool stuff permanently!

Posted by: Deadweasel on June 22, 2005 07:06 PM

i think that they have thing like this already nut wont use them because of tech issues or the fact if we did then the world would probaly think the the country that is using them is more advance and let it turn into a global conflict.

Posted by: Just a Person on December 31, 2005 06:33 PM

Great CGI vid



As for the rest of you, seek help!

Posted by: YoMomma on January 5, 2006 01:57 AM

See http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/48069 for more films by the same guy.

Posted by: John Wiseman on January 6, 2006 12:10 PM

Thought this was real until I did some research and found this sight. Could something like this be possible in the near future?

Posted by: Kyle Bascom on January 29, 2006 01:51 PM

man, i just happened on this...i figure its entirely possible, after all, many years ago the moon landing was "impossible" yet it was accomplished...we all have something in common, that we all want truth - but how often is it what you wanted to hear? people ridiculed galileo...simply because his entire society "knew" that the world was flat. if someone offers you truth, listen; if you find fault with it, stop listening. truth may very well be where you least expect to find it; because one day you will simply have to accept it. depending on your belif, it will benefit you or will not. "the truth" is looking for you as we speak, you simply have to keep your eye open.

Posted by: scott on February 13, 2006 12:37 AM

haha, geez... galileo figured out that the earth revolves around the sun, i should get that right... either way its societies popular views versus ideas of the minority.

Posted by: scott on February 13, 2006 12:41 AM

This is awesome - I am a police officer in South Africa and I have been in situations like in the clip - I would dig an ass kicking pertner like the turbo cops shown in the movie. Yeah and by the way South African Police will kick the NYPD or any other pansy-assed doughnut-eating american cop scum. VIVA RSA! punks

Posted by: Rocchi on February 22, 2006 02:10 AM

first of all i would like too state that the thought of robotic soldiers and police is a scary one but i belive this type of technology is not only a possibility, it is an inevitability. humankind is always looking for more ways too incorporate machines in too everyday life. we are lazy by nature and the less we have too do the better. if we can find a way too use robotics too do work that puts human lives in danger we will. there are already remote controled mechanics used on the bomb squad. there are robots used for recon. and eventually they will make a robot that is agile enough too truly move like a human. i agree that none of us will probably live too see the day that ai takes over the world but there will be "soldier" or "police" robots one day that will probably be remote controled by a fps gamer like myself and millions of others out there and that day is not that far off. many years ago reaching outter space was science fiction, then it became a reality. reaching the moon was sci. fi. again it too became a reality when i was growing up hover crafts were in sci. fi. movies but eventually it became real as well. now bear with me on this one but i belive that Rosie on the jetsons has a bit of a resemblance too hondas assimo notice a pattern. now i dont wanna come off as a conspiracy nut here but when you really take a good look at things we usually see ideas in the media weather it be movies or any other form that appear sci. fi. but ten or fifteen years later they have somehow managed too open a door too the technology. cloning was only a thought too us 15 years ago yet its quite a solid reality today. nano tech was in many movies years back but there are universitys reasearching it all over the world today. what we see in the movies eventually becomes a reality or atleast there is an attempt being made. weather it is just simply that we see someones thoughts and imagination put too film and realize what a great idea it was and the potential they have and then strive too achive them or that the media ( mostly in the form of movies ) is being used too ease us in too what is already a reality behind closed doors. i belive that either one is a verry real possibility. in blabing on about all of this i only have one final thing too say and that is that if we are striving too achive what we see in the movies is it hard too belive that mabey the military would be trying too create a machine too do the killing for us and not risk their own lives in the process. like say the terminator with out the AI, that might not be the best analogy but it proves my point none the less.

Posted by: hezeus on March 25, 2006 01:56 AM

Tetra Vaal is a God, and with any luck, our streets will be filled with him and his robotic brethren in the near future.

Posted by: KWynette on April 5, 2006 11:10 AM

nice vid

you people are all mad...

thanks for the sanity fezick!

Posted by: somguysomwhere on June 5, 2006 10:04 AM

I love it. The fact that you can barely tell it is CGI is great. Still, not sure how I would feel about a virtual experience that I could not separate from reality. Too many problems can occur from that, and those fools that blame shooting rampages on video games would have better reason than their idiocy for doing so. Still, if the visuals were the only thing that looked real then it would be acceptable to an older mind, at least. Hoping to see great animation like this more often now.

Posted by: Orko on June 22, 2006 12:23 PM

"all who think this is not a possibillity in the future should go fuck them self, dont u guys ever watch the history channel, oh , im sry, some people dont believe in tv" - some dude know one knows

wow. from the looks of it, some people don't believe in books. perhaps they fail to mention such relics as "written text" on the history channel. wow. highly entertaining thread.

Posted by: alicious on December 18, 2006 10:29 AM

And yeah, the protrusions on the side of its head look quite a bit like those on Buliaros from Appleseed or a few other mecha designs like the lasers on the heads of the battloids in Macross and whatever they are supposed to be in Patlabor. Obvious reference to those types of designs. Sonic sensors maybe? Heh. Anyhow, had to find this video again and re-stumbled across here, so I decided to bother everyone who read it with a second post.

Posted by: Orko on March 14, 2007 04:53 AM

omfg whys my coment down here...

any way if i saw that comin at me ide kick it in
the face with my ninja skills

Posted by: paul on April 23, 2007 09:01 PM
Post a comment

Email Address:


Unless you answer this question, your comment will be classified as spam and will not be posted.
(I'll give you a hint: the answer is “lisp”.)


Remember info?