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Mapping Wild Cards

Inspired by: other » A Wandering, Plant-Eating Robot.

version: 1 / created: 2011-02-01
id: #1540 / version id: #1540
mode: VIEW

Originally submitted by: Jari Kaivo-oja
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Last changed by: Jari Kaivo-oja
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Source of inspiration

Other, please specify:   Scientific American

The source of the Wild Card is

Scientific American. December 2010. 10 World Changing Ideas.


(max. 9 words)

A Wandering, Plant-Eating Robot.


(approx. 150 words)
Please describe the Wild Card (approx. 150 words)
This robot gobbles up wood chips, leaves and other “biomass” and generates electricity. In the future, autonomous robots can roam the planet in search of raw biomass to consume for power. The EATR Robot can change the global energy supply system, especially in remote locations. We can be in a process building low carbon economy by the help of the EATR Robots.


Biomass, robots, low carbon economy, energy supply system, sustainable development


(max. 250 characters)

Climate change is a global problem. A feasible solution for climate change challenges is the EATR Robot, which can change the global energy supply system, especially in remote locations. This robot is a plant-eating robot which generates electricit


Closest timeframe for at least 50% likelihood
Please use one of the following options:

Features of life if the wild card manifests

Feature 1: business models and industrial environment
New energy supply system is now available.
Feature 4: technology and infrastructure
The EATR Robot needs some supporting infrastructures.
Feature 5: politics and global affairs
A new technical tool for creationg of low-carbon economy.

Type of event

Human planned (e.g. terrorist attack or funded scientific breakthrough)

Type of emergence

please select (if any) describe related trend or situation
A contemporary equivalent of past Wild Cards
(e.g. earthquake, tsunami or, similar to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the USA breaks up into independent countries sometime between 2025-2050, for example)

Historical parallels

Robotics can be a part of solution in global sustainability policy.

Type of systems affected





please specify:
please select
Level 2: important for a particular world region
Level 3: important for the European Union European low carbon strategy/climate change policy
Level 4: important for the whole world Where biomassa exists

Early indicators

(including weak signals)

Robotics has been developed much in recent years. The EATR is developed in the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. The Robot has intelligent software which distinguish it prefential biomass "food".

Latent phase

Obstacles for early indentification

cultural/religious filters (values, traditions, faith, spiritual beliefs)
institutional filters (rules, laws, regulations)
economic filters (business/market interests)
political filters (party or ideological interests)

Manifestation phase

Type of manifestation

Very uncertain

Aftermath phase

Important implications
Emergence of a new system (e.g. new technologies, new paradigms)


Using robots to promote sustainability is a fresh approach. This technological solution is suitable for remote locations.

Key drivers or triggers

Provide up to 2 possible drivers or triggers of HIGH importance. Click on HELP to see examples:
please describe
Driver / Trigger 1
please describe
Driver / Trigger 2
Social A special solution to remote locations solution
Technological/Scientific Robotics progress
Environmental Climate change /policy challenges
Political Climare policy

Potential impacts (risks & opportunities)

Timeframe options
Risks Opportunities
(within 1 year after the Wild Card manifests)
Economic Opportunity for remote locations
short term
(1 to 5 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Economic Opportunity for remote locations
medium term
(5 to 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Economic Opportunity for remote locations
long term
(more than 10 years after the Wild Card manifests)
Economic Opportunity for remote locations

Potential stakeholders' actions

it occurs
it occurs
Policy actors (at the international, European and national levels) Study the EATR technology Pilot the EATR technology in romote locations of Europe
Business actors (incl. SMEs) Study the business opportunity Use the business opportunity
Academic/Research sector Pilot studies

Relevance for Grand Challenges

where? please justify:
particularly relevant Europe world
Energy security/dynamics In romote locations
Sustainability and climate change Low carbon strategy

Relevance for thematic research areas

please justify:
particularly relevant
Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology Low carbon strategy
Energy Low carbon strategy
Environment (including Climate Change) Low carbon strategy

Pan-European strategies potentially helping to deal with the wild card

please justify:
particularly relevant
Facilitating and promoting knowledge sharing and transfer A potential tool for low carbon strategy in Europe
Fostering and facilitating coherent international cooperation in science and technology University of Maryland/Clark School of Engineering

 Features of a research-friendly ecology contributing to deal with the wild card

For further information about 'research-friendly strategies' click here

please justify:
particularly relevant
Creating a closer link between researchers & policy-makers
(e.g. supporting both thematic and cross-cutting policies, highlighting the strategic purpose of the European Research Area, etc.
Awareness of this solution must be created

Relevance for future R&D and STI policies

Note: RTD = research and technology development; STI = science, technology and innovation
Relevant for European low carbon economy strategy, especially in remote locations.