By Allan Povah
A student at James Cook University was today attacked by a robot crocodile named Christopher while he was installing a software update into the animal’s artificial brain. The unnamed student was air-lifted to Cairns Base Hospital where he is in a serious but stable condition.
The ‘croco-droid’ project has been criticised by locals after, last June, it escaped from the William Bligh University laboratory and navigated itself to the Cook Highway. “The fucking thing scared the shit out of me,” said Kuranda artist Poppy Newshome, who had to rescued from her car when the robot took a liking to the front wheel of her Amarok.
Dr Roger Mainstone, professor of Computer Science at WBU defended the project. “It’s really an inter-disciplinary effort,” he said, “and it’s bringing everyone together. We’ve got students from the engineering, biology, dentistry, computer science and crocodiliac departments working on this. It’s totally state of the art. We’re in talks with the Mexicans on commercialisation.”
When asked about the accident, Mainstone stressed that it was unlikely to happen again. “It was just a back-propagation error in setting the coefficients on the neural network,” he said. “Easy fixed. It didn’t help that the student involved had chicken nuggets for lunch and didn’t wash his hands afterwards. He’s quite embarrassed about the breach in protocol. Actually, we’re all pretty lucky that Christopher’s teeth had been removed for sharpening otherwise the kid would have lost an arm.”