Crime-Solving, Treasure-Finding Robot

Posted 23 May 2006 at 15:31 UTC by Rog-a-matic Share This

Chilean inventor Manuel Salinas is becoming quite good at using his Geo-Radar-wielding robot to find buried objects. The robot was designed to find antipersonnel mines but its job description keeps growing. In the last year he has helped solve two high-profile criminal cases, found German weapons, and located buried treasure on the Robinson Crusoe Islands. Naturally, there's a dispute over the treasure. The Geo-Radar technology also claims to be able to find copper deposits, petroleum, and gold at depths of 600 feet. Exactly how it works is being kept a secret but a University lab test confirms its operation.

Is it a hoax?, posted 23 May 2006 at 17:00 UTC by Rog-a-matic » (Master)

Further poking around shows that this might be a hoax. Many things that sound to good to be true are, and this story has a certain vibe to it. For confirmation, I'll tune into Paul Harvey today..... :)


Over-hyped but real, posted 23 May 2006 at 19:14 UTC by steve » (Master)

Sites like Nation Geographic, New Scientist, and the BBC have been reporting on it for a while. We did a story on the treasure finding event last year with links to several articles and photos. Looks like a slightly different version of the robot but Manuel Salinas was mentioned in some of the articles. As far as I can tell, they just attached a ground-penetrating radar unit to a robot platform. A radar expert quoted at the time thought they might be exaggerating the depth of radar penetration. They claimed the treasure was detected at 15 meters. Still, that's a cool sensor for any robot.

This guy is a fraud, posted 1 Jun 2006 at 02:36 UTC by acantostega » (Apprentice)

I know it's a little late, but here goes my rant: I'm dismayed this guy has come up again. I'm chilean, and although I'm currently in the US (studying in GeorgiaTech, mainly robotics & AI stuff) I was in Chile last year when this whole thing first appeared. It happened thus: robot makes a lot of apparent discoveries in a brief period of time; media picks up the story and shows videos of robot (it's radio controlled, by the way). Unfortunately they also let Manuel Salinas talk. And believe me, whenever this guy opens his mouth a totally insane techno babble that makes no sense comes out. Anyone even remotely familar with science can tell this guy is a pathological liar. It's so silly it's hard to translate (just in case here's an interview:, in spanish). Here is one of his famous assertions, when he tried to explain how the robot worked: (I know it's gibberish, not even completely grammatical; it was gibberish in spanish too).

"It's the non linear integration of the basic unit of life as it is known; thus, and in the merely functional and explicative concept, I detail that our unit is the integration of highly sophisticated electronic components that are capable of deciphering the unanimity equation of chaos theory in the context of an integral to the power of the exponential radical, based on the composition of the species, as they are known after 20.000 of assisted evolution." (see the blog ; the original interview on the "El Mercurio" newspaper is not available for free it's site). His interviews are full of gems like this. Here's another one, from here : (After saying the robot is powered by nuclear fission):

"No, it doesn't decompose anything. I take a basic element, non radioactive, that can be acquired in a jewelry store or a pharmacy (but it's an industrial secret) and I subject it to an interference field; I create magnetic fields, a sort of cyclotron, and with this I excite the quark, the minimum expression in an atom. Then, when I confront these two energies with each other, I create a new torrent of energy, which I force to come out of transducers, the antennas and horns you see on the sides of the robot, coupled to a graphite cannon, the channel emission. Have you seen "Star trek"? When they said "We'll use the antimatter cannons", well, this is the same." [sigh...] In other interview he claims the idea for the robot was communicated to him by god. He also says the reach of the robot is up to 50 km (not a typo) in any direction, and "linear, quadratic or cubic". He has claimed that the robot can analyze the DNA of people at a distance. That's why it supposedly works best for him, because the robot recognizes his DNA. The operation of the robot is also supposedly disturbed by the presence of menstruating women. But then came Salinas' downfall. During a presentation at a technical university, (UTFSM), he was asked harsh questions by professors and engineering students. After an hour of some more gibberish, a physics professor stood up and addressed the audience, saying that the Manuel Salinas didn't know what he was talking about, that there's no way that the robot could work as Salinas claimed; that the guy was a fraud and UTFSM shoudn't have anything to do with him. Everyone applauded and Salinas, riduculed, left. ( here is a newspaper article) Note that the National Geographic article mentions these controversies. After that, Salinas more or less disappeared from the spotlight. Until now. How embarassing. Salinas is a total crank, almost perfectly described by the profile of the crank in Martin Gardner's "Fads and Fallacies in the name of science". Let me tell you, there's interesting science and technology developed in Chile. This is not part of it.

Thanks for info, posted 4 Jun 2006 at 15:17 UTC by steve » (Master)

Wow, the guy sounds like a quack alright. But what about the robot itself? Does he actually have a robot with a ground penetrating radar on it? I assume he's got some sort of machine he's calling a robot since it shows up in the photos but does it really do anything? Has anyone actually seen it operate or are the articles all based on his claims about what it can do?

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