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pikashoo

Valks vs. Dogs?

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So I have this long running debate with my friend. I was talking about how I gave up on UP! when the dogs starting flying those planes, and he said that I watch a show where jets turn into robots, so what is wrong with a dog flying a plane.

Anyway our big discussion is on what is more likely to become reality in the future, a jet that can turn into a robot or a dog that can fly a plane.

So I guess my question is since I am not an engineer, is what is preventing us from actually making a jet that turns into a robot?

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Few problems I see with a real-life.

Fitting the parts for a robot into a plane and vice a versa.

Look the legs/turbine of a call alone from air intake, turbine and exhaust alone.

How would a valk stay airborne during transformation?

Doubt that we will have dogs flying planes or valks with current tech.

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Why would we want a jet to turn into a robot and vice versa, save for the realization of our imaginations and fantasies? I don't see a practical use for such a machine...

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We've had this conversation many times over the years.

Why don't we have jets that turn into robots? First off, Complexity. Anything that transforms is fairly complex. More moving parts, more problems, more maintenance, more etc. Why have such complex devices when simple ones will do. Which leads to #2, Money. Robots are expensive. Transforming robots would probably break the bank for most groups. Given these and probably more, why have robots when simpler machines will do.

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I read the thread title and thought the op was sharing the aftermath of an encounter between their toy collection and a house pet. I'm slightly disappointed.

Edited by anime52k8

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I read the thread title and thought the op was sharing the aftermath of an encounter between their toy collection and a house pet. I'm slightly disappointed.

I thougt it was going to be about what to buy, a valkyrie or a scopedog from votoms.

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I know it doesnt make sense to build a jet that transforms into a robot for money and tactical reasons, I'm just wondering what the physics involved are that would make it possible/impossible. you know not SHOULD we build one, but COULD we?

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I thought it was going to be a "Who would win in a fight: Valkyrie or Scope Dog?"

Clearly, where the future is heading is dogs remotely piloting planes that turn into robots.

Tanks that turn into robot squirrels will be their weakness.

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Some pretty funny responses in here!

For me trying to answer the question in a sincere manner comes to "need". If there were ever some hypothetical need for a military or civilian vehicle to change into a humanoid robotic form then I'm sure with enough resources it would happen.

Right now we can't see the need for such a thing do to a lot of the responses already posted. But think about this 150 years ago we wouldn't have seen the need to have any number of things that we take for granted now (microwaves, cell/smart phones, WiFi, video games, on and on and on).

Tanks to robot squirrels - LOL

-b.

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Tanks that turn into robot squirrels will be their weakness.

Unless said dog is remote piloting a transformable A-10.

In which case, the transformable tank squirrels would be shredded to pieces.

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... I'm just wondering what the physics involved are that would make it possible/impossible. you know not SHOULD we build one, but COULD we?

Of course we COULD. But then we would have to deal with power requirements, structural integrity of large transforming robot and transforming at speeds near Mach 2, G-forces on the pilot while doing such things, being all-environment, etc. You know...all the messy stuff.

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I know it doesnt make sense to build a jet that transforms into a robot for money and tactical reasons, I'm just wondering what the physics involved are that would make it possible/impossible. you know not SHOULD we build one, but COULD we?

Aircraft can be classified in terms of their inherent stability (the ability to fly in a "straight line" with minimal control input). A small Cesna is a very stable design for example. Because of stability however, if will also resist extreme maneuvers, like those that would be incurred in aerial combat. On the other hand, you have something like say a F-16 which is of an inherently unstable design, but it's greatly more maneuverable. However, because of inherent instability it needs a flight computer to make minor adjustments to the plane's control surfaces in response to a pilot's controls in order to keep the airplane stable.

Because a Gerwalk and Battroid would fall into the extremely unstable category, it will need extremely good software, especially in atmosphere, to keep the Valk stable during transformation and help it recover afterwards. So you can imagine the software complexity needed to handle this, to do things like calculate a safe scenario for the pilot to start transformation.

Another problem is that of "energy." If you're flying along one direction, your plane has sufficient energy to make minor maneuvers. When you do an extreme maneuver (like a Flanker doing a Pugachev Cobra) the plane looses energy (1/2mv^2), and thus will be slightly less maneuverable and unresponsive until enough thrust can be applied. Since transforming seems like a fairly extreme thing to do, a Valkyrie would loose a lot of energy, and thus it would become vulnerable to another aircraft while it's doing so.

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Sure, we could easily design a jet that transforms into a robot.

A really ugly-looking robot.

Yeah, they're called MB's Transformers.

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Valkyrie vs Scopedog(Votoms Suit).

I would bet on the Scopedog much more configurable per mission(Red Shoulder, Operation Sunsa, etc).

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I thought this was going to be a different kinda thread too! In reality, we don't have the technology. The turbines that could lift such a craft would suck so much fuel, it would not be practical. The F-15 can go vertical because of its power to weight ratio - but it can't maintain that very long, say like a gerwalk in hover mode (out of ground effect). Then the robotics would take up so much weight, what weapons could you carry practically? Even the Harrier can only hover so long due to temperature issues (it has an onboard water injection system to aid in cooling - until the water runs out!).

IF you could get past the fuel and power to weight ratio thing compounded by robotics (which are dead weight when not in use), then you have a VERY delicate, lightly armored vehicle that small arms fire could take out easily. Then comes maintenance - turbines, robotics, airframe, avionics, and a slew of other systems that specialists would have to maintain. That all equates to not practical with current technologies or being cost effective. Yes, I actually went there with all this!?!?!

On the other hand, dogs can surf, skateboard, hanglide and kinda talk. Give it up Pikashoo, go shave your head, wear clothing of the opposite sex or whatever you have to do if you lose the bet...because I think you did! I say all of the above in a funny and light hearted spirit - just to clarify :) - MT

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My dog can unlatch doors, and I never taught him to do so. I have another dog who's deathly afraid of him, so I keep him in a dog kennel sometimes. The other guy figured out how to unlatch the kennel from the outside all by himself. It's not exactly piloting a plane, but hey....

So yeah, I'm voting for the dogs.

Edited by GU-11

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I spoke to a number of engineers about this same issue over the years - their responses were pretty much the same as what people have been saying above. What it comes down to is that even if you had the technology to handle all the physical issues of a transformable plane, it would ultimately not be as good a plane as one that uses all the same technology WITHOUT the robot parts - nor would it be as good a robot as one that doesn't have to be ultralight and fit a bunch of jet kibble in order to fly (and keep in mind that a robot would be fragile and poorly armed compared to a tank of the same mass) In short it would be pathetic military hardware in both modes and vulnerable during transformation - just a big, expensive, difficult to maintain target that would probably blow up nicely.

That and stealth technology is dependent on shape - even a stuck landing gear bay makes a stealth jet visible to radar, imagine what something like transforming would do . . . . yep, this thing would be a nice explosion within seconds.

Just the other day I brought it up with a gentleman who works at Boeing - his response was that if someone could design a plane so cheap and easy to fly that a rich eccentric could buy them for his well trained dogs, hundreds of companies would happily fund it - and with the AI that exists in both cars and drone fighters that isn't all that unlikely. If you designed a plane that transformed into a robot, you'd have a useless hunk of cool that would only interest people at a monster truck rally - it would be a total waste of engineering and resources. It might happen in the RC world someday just for kicks (transformable RC cars have existed for years and there are a few that actually turn into pretty sophisticated robots), but its actually much more *useful* to have dogs flying a plane than having a transformable one - much less something as complex as a valkyrie (maybe, at best, a drone with a single mechanical arm and unusually large landing gear is about as far as that kind of design could ever be remotely practical).

Sorry - your friend is right. Flying dogs are nowhere near as absurd as a Valkyrie, no matter how much we might love them.

Edited by NeoverseOmega

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Ok, I just remembered this:

Yeah, I'm going with flying dogs over Valks.

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I think the important part looked over here is where the tech comes from. Current technology and fuel sources? There's a reason we don't have anything remotely practical for a giant robot, let alone a transforming fighter.

Drop in a spaceship full of tech to reverse engineer, a possible threat of 50 foot tall aliens and most of that goes out the window. The logistics of such a thing would, hopefully, go out the window too.

That said, I think the right type of dog could be trained to do anything.

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What plane are we talking about (I didn't see Up!)? I mean I assume you could build (certification is a different thing) an aircraft that has two buttons one for take off and one for landing. Most definitely train a dog to push those buttons at the right time. In addition you could add a few more buttons that the dog can push for random destinations.

But I doubt that a dog has the capability to maneuver or even navigate a plane that is not powered by some kind of AI in a way that would qualify as flying. All scenarios I could think of result in a crash except one. This would be to wire the brain of the dog with some kind of neuronal interface through which he can tell the plane what to do (like fly back to his owner). However this will again lead to the question who is flying the plane: the dog or the AI?

Long story short: a dog probably cannot fly an airplane in the definition that he can start the systems of an airplane, take of, fly designated location and land there safely without the major steps being done by a computer program.

Transforming stuff on the other hand.... during my last flight the meal was served with a transformable fork (transforms from storage-mode to fork-mode). ^_^ I believe that technology would enable us to create a device (controlled by the human who is sitting in said device) that transforms from one form to another. Like say a small boat that transforms into a battle suit to deliver soldiers by sea to their area of operations or something like that. From there on it would be possible to have an aircraft doing it. Maybe not in the way Macross envisioned it but something along the lines that qualifying as transformation from one mode to another (maybe fighter to robot). It would probably be a drone that transforms from helicopter to spider mode but who said robots cannot look like spiders. :D

I'm sure if the technology is available some crazy Japanese engineer will probably try it even if it makes no sense at all and if Japan still exists by then.

Highly amusing topic by the way!

Edited by Scyla

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There is no demand for giant robots because there are no giants for them to fight. Solution: create giants to create the demand for giant robots. The transforming part will come eventually (companies love gimmicks to sell more stuff).

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And Scyla offers the best defense (really only) defense for pikashoo! I like the boat/armor idea.

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Thanks for everyone who responded. My real goal was to see what the physics are that make a valk impossible right now. I think I have a better idea now. I still think the dog flying planes is absolutely ridiculous. Again most people seem to say that there is no need or demand for a transforming plane. I understand the need for a transforming giant robot plane does not exist and more likely never will. That's not the question.

But anyway the only "proof" anyone posted supporting the dogs theory is that one poster said his dog figured out to unlatch doors and that video of the driving dog. While this shows dogs have some intelligence, those things don't support the idea they can fly a plane. As for the "driving" dog, with all due respect that dog is not driving at all. It was trained to move a steering wheel based on active prompting by his trainer. That's very different from actual understanding of what it's doing. If the only way I could drive was have my mom stand outside my car and tell me which way to turn the wheel the entire time no one would say I was "driving." And no one would issue me a driver's license for that. Someone can tell me how to draw all the kanji characters in the world, but that doesn't mean I can read and write Chinese. So learning how to move a steering wheel based on commands from a trainer is not driving.

What really makes me thinks the dog thing is ridiculous is the brain function and cognizance that is required to fly a plane. Flying a plane takes many hours of training. There are humans who can't cut it. The dropout rate of pilot school is extremely high. If most humans can't even learn how to fly a plane, how is a dog supposed to? The amount of evolution required to have a dog understand what a plane is, what flying is, the capacity to understand the process of flying a plane, how to read all the instruments, the dexterity involved in their limbs to operate all those instruments, and other stuff I'm not even mentioning is far far away. Just getting the dog to understand the training program is so far beyond a dog's brain power, by the time dogs evolved to be able to understand such training program would probably make them not be classified as dogs anymore. I think all this is much more impossible than making a plane that can transform into a robot. And like I said before but I think got lost somewhere, its not a matter of whether anyone would build it, what the need for it would be, how useful it would be, whether it would look cool, or whether it would provide any type of military advantage, its just a simple question of could we do it. Ghost Train provided the best answer as to why we couldn't do it, and those obstacles seem far smaller than what it would take to get a dog to start up a plane, take off, fly and manuever it to take part in an air battle and fire weapons, and then land the plane like in "UP!"

Oh one last thing I need to clarify because of the drone thing. The orginal argument was dogs flying planes and transforming jets are as they are in their respective series. So the dogs fly WWI era prop planes like in UP!, and the jets transform like they do in SDF Macross.

Edited by pikashoo

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Actually flying a plane is very easy. As someone mentioned in this thread there are planes that basically fly on their own because they are so stable. The tricky part is to start and land safely on your own. Of course the auto pilot on modern aircrafts can do that as well (if I remember that episode of Myth Busters correctly). Once you are airborne there is the flight stick, the foot pedals and the thrust lever that you need to navigate the plane. Of course this is a simplified view of the world but you can fly the right kind of plane with a flight instructor and no basic knowledge without endangering everyone around you. ^_^

I think the hardest part of flying is to learn all the rules and regulations.

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The problem for a plane/robot is weight and complexity.

Complexity - we don't even have viable humanoid robotic suits yet, close, but not just yet. (at least not without an external power supply or just a battery which would NOT work for a practical plane).

Weight - Many parts for a Robot would be wasted in plane mode (and vice versa). A Valk, being a high performance fighter, needs to have max power to weight ratios (and these days stealth) to be anything other then a target.

As an example, the "feet" of a valk are the thrust nozzles in fighter mode - in a real plane if those are even a little off in shape it throws performance way off, and the process that makes a good thrust nozzle makes for very poor "feet".

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Does anyone else get the impression that pikashoo has something against canines?

In the real world, scientists are already providing data that dogs share intelligence or are smarter than toddlers (children 2 to 2.5 years of age). See the following link:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090810025241.htm

Clearly, there are no toddlers capable of flying aeroplanes; however Up! is a fantasy and part of what makes that fantasy work is the idea that something was created in that world to increase doggy intelligence. If you are already discussing the whys and hows of making transforming planes from Macross real, then it is only fair to discuss the whys and hows of the real science that would be necessary to allow a domesticated dog to do more than it is naturally capable of doing.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/why-dogs-are-more-like-humans-than-wolves-22095590/

BTW, the idea that humans alter the evolution of other animals is not new.

Speaking of robot technology, I don't know about transforming planes. Even in the fantasy world of Macross, there was a need for a Valkyrie to exist. I guess if there is ever a need for that sort of technology in real life, humanity may start building something interesting. But what robots are we seeing today? Quite a bit, but transforming bots? Not so much. Here is a short list of things that I can think of off the top of my head:

  • Robots on the assembly line
  • Robots that clean house
  • Robots in the military
  • Robots that keep company
  • Robots that serve

And then there is this prototype:

If the law is changed, then we may also get access to cars that drive themselves. It is certainly an interesting time. I just think that both are within reach, myself, but transformation technology is not a priority. I see more reason to train dogs, and increase their ability to understand words, so that they can better help people in need than I do in a car or plane turning into something else.

Edited by technoblue

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Another missing factor in the valk department is, by the time the technology came around for such small nuclear powered aircraft.

It will be past the Pentagons time frame for Pilotless aircraft. Drones are the future because Humans are expensive, and hold secrets.

Robots can just self destruct.

I'm going with Dogs.

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I don't have anything against dogs technoblue. I think its my fault for not explaining things well enough. We aren't talking about dogs assisted by AI and advanced technology we have today or in the future. The argument was a dog flying those WWI era prop planes like in UP from start to finish. With the dogs handling the plane with steering wheels shaped like a bone and dogfighting (heh) like they did in the movie. I'll admit that with advances in AI, drones, and the like its probably more likely and useful to humanity for a dog to sit in a plane and fly it. But we're talking about a plane with all kinds of tech to allow the dog to pilot the plane with as little brain power as possible. But to have a dog fly those WWI era planes with free thought, strategy, and decsion making in an air battle? no bleeping way.

And for the last time this is not about need or if anyone actually would make a transforming plane. I'm pretty sure I already said I admit there will never be a need for a transforming plane, nor is it likely anyone will ever try, the question is could it happen? And we've gotten pretty good responses as to why it could not happen. But saying it couldn't happen because of necessity is already moot since I already said there will never be a need or practical use for a transforming plane. If you wanna bring it up that's fine, I'm not the owner of this thread or board, but that point is not contested by me.

Edited by pikashoo

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Thinking about it, a conversion aircraft to a gerwalk mode might be a possibility.

Not only for VTOL capabilities, but allowing the aircraft to be lethal while on the ground

Could be a improvement.

I think the eye recognition firing and missile clusters will be in the future.

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No worries, pikashoo. It's been a while since I watched Up!, but I could have sworn that the dogs needed a jolt from some gadget the hermit, mad-scientist, antagonist-in-the-blimp engineered before they could do anything fantastic like fly a plane.

My memory could be faulty on that point, though.

As to your other point, thanks for clarifying again. ^_^ I agree with skullmilitia. Creating a usable gerwalk mode seems the most realistic probability. Instead of legs, I was thinking of tracks or a wheel system that would take advantage of the terrain. I've alwasy been keen on seeing someone adapt an Ultralight to something like we see in Ghost in the Shell or Bubblegum Crisis.

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Drones are the future because Humans are expensive, and hold secrets.

But drones can be easily taken over by virtual pop idols. Duh.

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Thinking about it, a conversion aircraft to a gerwalk mode might be a possibility.

Not only for VTOL capabilities, but allowing the aircraft to be lethal while on the ground

Could be a improvement.

The GERWALK mode has been occasionally described as a "Heavy Attack Helicopter" (specifically the VF-0, but generally applicable to all).

As a helicopter that transforms into a plane already exists (V-22 Osprey), it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to make a jet transform into something like a helicopter.

Though, it'll probably look nothing like a VF in GERWALK and probably a lot like the VTOL Attack Aircraft in Eva...

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The GERWALK mode has been occasionally described as a "Heavy Attack Helicopter" (specifically the VF-0, but generally applicable to all).

As a helicopter that transforms into a plane already exists (V-22 Osprey), it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to make a jet transform into something like a helicopter.

Though, it'll probably look nothing like a VF in GERWALK and probably a lot like the VTOL Attack Aircraft in Eva...

There was an idea back in the 60's of a F-104 that can convert to helo mode.

http://www.fantastic-plastic.com/F-104VTOLPage.htm

Also -

Skip to 21:00

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx-Xzk3fQww

Edited by Vifam7

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