While Japan gets ready to become the world's most robot-friendly nation, the United States is more interested in helping integrate robots into rodent society. Hence the creation of robo-squirrel Rocky at Hampshire College in Massachusetts (pictured), where researchers are studying whether the robot's squirrelly ways will allow it to mingle with the fully-biological, acorn-chomping natives.
Apparently things are working out pretty well — Rocky can make the proper noises to communicate, and knows how to warn other squirrels with special shakes of his tail. Once we can create a Rocky who has the capabilities of Big Dog, the autonomous robot who can recover his balance after being kicked around by humans, we may have to worry less about whether it will join the squirrels and more about whether the squirrels will join it. A mechasquirrel may be just what rodent culture needs to have its revolution and overthrow the grain-hoarding humans.
Over at Technovelgy, Bill Christensen also thinks we should integrate the roboquirrel with a tree-climbing bot. Basically, I'm all in favor of any creature who can integrate cuteness with ninja powers, so that sounds good to me.