The company, Robotic Technology Inc, claims "they originated the concept of the EATR in 2003 and in turn the project was sponsored as a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project by an agency of the Department of Defense".
The purpose of the Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) ™ (patent pending) project is to develop and demonstrate an autonomous robotic platform able to perform long-range, long-endurance missions without the need for manual or conventional re-fueling.
The system obtains its energy by foraging – engaging in biologically-inspired, organism-like, energy-harvesting behavior which is the equivalent of eating. It can find, ingest, and extract energy from biomass in the environment (and other organically-based energy sources), as well as use conventional and alternative fuels (such as gasoline, heavy fuel, kerosene, diesel, propane, coal, cooking oil, and solar) when suitable.
However, this energy harvesting behaviour, gained it notoriety. It set off speculation that the EATR was a flesh-eating robot and the company issued a statement that it was a rumour.