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Flame-Throwing Robot Dog For Sale: Innovation or Danger?

Daniel Kim Views  

미국에서 온라인 판매를 시작한 화염방사기를 장착한 로봇 개 '써모네이터'. 사진=쓰로우플레임
Throwflame

Controversy is brewing over a flamethrower-equipped robotic dog that can run on four legs and spitfire up to 33 feet, now being sold online in the United States.

According to the New York Post and other sources on the 23rd (local time), a flamethrower manufacturing company based in Ohio, Throwflame, announced the online sale of a four-legged robot, the Thermonator equipped with a flamethrower.

미국에서 온라인 판매를 시작한 화염방사기를 장착한 로봇 개 '써모네이터'. 사진=쓰로우플레임
미국에서 온라인 판매를 시작한 화염방사기를 장착한 로봇 개 '써모네이터'. 사진=쓰로우플레임

The official name Thermonator seems to combine the prefix thermo and terminator.

A video released by the company announcing the sale shows that the robot dog can be easily controlled via a mobile phone application. Furthermore, the Thermonator can explore surroundings in a dark forest with lasers or flashes, and since the machine operates with fuel, it can emit long-range flames even while running or jumping.

미국에서 온라인 판매를 시작한 화염방사기를 장착한 로봇 개 '써모네이터'. 사진=쓰로우플레임
미국에서 온라인 판매를 시작한 화염방사기를 장착한 로봇 개 '써모네이터'. 사진=쓰로우플레임

The flamethrower mounted on the robot is Throwflame’s flagship product, the ARC flamethrower. It can shoot flames up to 33 feet and sustain up to one hour when fully charged with gasoline. In addition, the flamethrower can be remotely controlled via a smartphone through Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and it is equipped with a LiDAR sensor that measures the distance and shape of objects using a camera and laser.

The robot was unveiled in the third quarter of last year and officially released this year with a price of $9,420.

The problem is that this product is sold to the public through the company’s online store. Only Maryland sanctions the purchase, and anyone who pays receives this product legally in all other states.

Throwflame described the product’s uses as wildfire control and prevention, snow and ice removal from entrances, agricultural management, and entertainment. However, selling such a dangerous product to anyone without qualification restrictions is causing controversy.

Some have pointed out concerns about weaponization. The War Zone, a military journal, described an appealing chance that a Thermonator could be used on the battlefield since it is equipped with powerful autonomous functions, and dealing with a robot dog charging with flamethrowers is daunting.

The company is fully aware of the risks and even uses it for product promotion on its website. On its product page, Throwflame described it as “the world’s first flamethrower-equipped robot dog” and included a message for military authorities to inquire separately about bulk purchases. It also stated, “It is legal to own. In the United States, flamethrowers are not subject to federal regulation. They are not considered firearms.”

Some netizens who saw the video reacted with concern, saying, “This is dangerous,” “Is this legal?” “I hope Google AI doesn’t control this,” and “Wasn’t anyone who said this seems like a bad idea while making this?”

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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