WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Robots have a multitude of applications but up until now most of them have been quite small, a new mech from a Korean company just broke the mould.
This week a team in Seoul demonstrated a 13 ft (4m) tall robot, or “mech,” that, unlike it’s diminutive cousin, ATLAS, the world’s most advanced humanoid robot, is so heavy it makes the ground shake when it moves.
Seoul based robotics company Korea Future Technology (KFT) completed the first tests of its giant human like robot, called METHOD-1 a few weeks ago and the mech, which has been developed in secret for two years, moves by mimicking the actions of its pilot sitting inside – just like the Jaegers in the movie Pacific Rim or the loaders in Aliens and Avatar.
The mech was the creation of Vitaly Bulgarov and while you might not know who Bulgarov is it’s more than likely that you’ve seen some of his other creations because he’s the designer behind the the mechs and robots in sci-fi films including Robocop, Terminator and Transformers as well as Starcraft and World of Warcraft.
Now, thanks to KFT, his work has moved from fiction into real life.
“I’m excited to share some updates and work in progress motion tests for the 13 ft tall, 1.5 ton heavy, manned robot I have been working on with the guys at Korea Future Technology,” he said.
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Bulgarov also revealed details of what the final robot will be made of – including carbon fibre for its legs, but he remained ambiguous about what the mech might be used for in the future – although news has already leaked that at least one of the mech’s is due to head off to help the disaster recovery efforts at the devastated Fukishma nuclear plant which was crippled in 2011 when it was hit by a huge earthquake and a tsunami.
“From a mechanical, software, hardware, electric and engineering stand point it was quite an ambitious project that required developing and enhancing a lot of technologies along the way,” he said, “and now the developments we’ve made open up many real world applications where everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real world problems.”
“The plan is to build a reliable robotic platform that can be used effectively in various utilitarian applications,” he said, “when the ambitious team from Korea Future Technology first invited me to join the company as their designer for a large human controlled robot it took me some time to realize that they were actually serious about it,” he said.