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Homebrewed Robot Exoskeleton In Alaska

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the droids-you're-looking-for dept.

202

museumpeace writes "CNET has an article about a robotic exoskeleton ginned up by tinkerer from Alaska There are a few cool pictures. The audacity of Mr. Owens project, if you believe the article, compares to the efforts of the old Home Brew Computer Club when compared to the work of GE or Toyota. Inspiration here comes more from sci-fi and video games than from industrial competition. The article is a good roundup of MECHA related developments, some of which sprang from DARPA money, so I am glad at least a few of my tax dollars are having some real geek fun."

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202 comments

Dammit (5, Funny)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162731)

I thought they found an ancient robot skeleton buried under the ice or something, it's been a long week.

This guy is certifiable. (3, Funny)

skids (119237) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162877)

To build an operational mecha as a hobby is one thing.

To build it outside in the friggin Alaskan winter... well, there's only one word for that:

OTAKU!!!

(which, by the way, is what is on my housemate's vanity plate, so I speak with first-hand knowlege)

Re:This guy is certifiable. (1)

genner (694963) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162925)

Aho or Baka would also work.

Re:This guy is certifiable. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163098)

Mecha is a racist organization.

Combining the nationalism of Mexico with the anti-semitism of the worst Nazis, the Mecha movement combines a number of forces to push for a mexican invasion of the lower United States.

The group, which calls California 'Alta California', openly promotes illegal immigration as a way of 'reclaiming' california for 'the race.'

It's unfortunate that anyone gives this group money, as they certainly get plenty from their sham media outlets such as 'La Voz de Aztlan', which is used for hate-speech such as:

http://www.aztlan.net/razajews.htm [aztlan.net]

Re:This guy is certifiable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163315)

Wrong "mecha" [wikipedia.org] , troll.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled geekery.

Hmmm... mustache, dark hair, heart problem (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163201)

Seems like I know this guy from somewhere, but can't quite place where....

Upright? (2, Insightful)

tangledweb (134818) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163543)

Am I the only one who sees an 18 or 35 foot tall mech being build surrounded by scaffolding and thinks that the whole project would have been 75% easier if he judt built it lying down?

A crane could easily stand it up later, but if it is going to work at all, it would need to be able to stand after a stumble anyway.

Sure, it looks cooler standing, and probably annoys his neighbours more, but it seems like a very poor design decision.

we're not allowed to say nigger anymoer (0, Troll)

eh0d is my daddy (825041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162739)

penismightier.com [penismightier.com] has recently banned the word "nigger" from its message board. this is an outrage, an attack against freedom of speech. let's take them down!

eh0d, my daddy, why ddid you make that happen???? :( :( :(

Good God Tell Me I'm not First? (0, Offtopic)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162742)

Ok, so this is way cool, and all that, but must we mirror, FARK, quite so quickly?

Re:Good God Tell Me I'm not First? (1)

CygnusXII (324675) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162775)

HAAHA!!!! I guess not. Good, I'd like to think I have some kind of life. Seriously though, I usually find, that alot of the stuff I read here, previously on Fark.com.I imagine, there are a finite amount of sources for good material,though.

Re:Good God Tell Me I'm not First? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162826)

learn, when, to, use, commas,,,,

Re:Good God Tell Me I'm not First? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163549)

about commas,,,, when, to, *shut up!*, learn,,,

It's not slashdot (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163062)

it's fark without the boobies

FM! - (First Meme) (5, Funny)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162762)

Well I for one, welcome our new Alaskan Mecha overlords.

Robot Jox (1)

silicon-pyro (217988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162916)

My dream of finally being one of the Robot Jox [imdb.com] might soon be a reality. Sweet!

Re:Robot Jox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163079)

Heck Yeah!

Re:FM! - (First Meme) (1)

Richard Frost (18848) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163251)

Followed by:

1. Build 18' fall mecha in backyard.
2. Crush cars at racetrack. (Formerly ???)
3. Profit!!

Giant Robot Website Crushed By /. (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162766)

Y'know, it occurs to me that this is someone you don't want to piss off with a slashdotting. He's developing the perfect retaliation suit!

Re:Giant Robot Website Crushed By /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162828)

Y'know, it occurs to me that this is someone you don't want to piss off with a slashdotting. He's developing the perfect retaliation suit!

Yeah well he'd have to find me first and it's an awfully long walk in that thing from Alaska to the east coast. Somehow I doubt he'll get that thing into an airplane.

Re:Giant Robot Website Crushed By /. (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163011)

He can get on any plane he wants to. Who's going to stop MechaCarlos? Puny airport security guards? Bah! They are but the buzzing of flies to MechaCarlos!

Now, you get the TSA to hire Gundam, then we'll have security.

Re:Giant Robot Website Crushed By /. (2, Funny)

k12linux (627320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162856)

Sure, but once he straps on the jet engines... watch out! lol

Slashdot Crushed by Giant Robot (2, Funny)

infernow (529374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162940)

Ah, the irony there would be...

Re:Slashdot Crushed by Giant Robot (0, Redundant)

plover (150551) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163220)

It could only be better if it happened In Soviet Russia!

Outdated meme - it's "in Japan" now... (0, Redundant)

billstewart (78916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163324)

Sure, in Soviet Russia, giant mecha robots build humans in their backyards, but basically, giant mecha robots are popular in Japan!

Sorry... (4, Interesting)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162769)

This is very cool, and geek-factor 11...

But, I have a feeling the first step is going to put this flat on it's face.

Anime-ish designs for Mecha (mobile suits) don't translate well into the real world.

If it were me, I would be looking to emulate some of the designs from the original MechWarrior series. They seem a bit more realistic.

Still, love to see this walk/work!

Re:Sorry... (1)

Nine Tenths of The W (829559) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162978)

You mean the 60 foot tall 100 ton assault mechs? Yeah, I can see them being within the reach of hobbyists

Re:Sorry... (1)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163022)

Nice try, but no.

Those of us that aren't going for the Prick Award would assume that I (just like the builder) would scale the design back within a reasonable realm.

Do you watch Anime, because the Mobile Suits are larger that the 18ft proto he is building.

I wish I could patent and sell common sense.

Re:Sorry... (1)

Senobyzal (826207) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162982)

The article stated that this was a big challenge for the builder, and that he's tried to account for it by making the lower half of the body heavier than the upper half. Still, it won't be easy to handle the balance aspect. Probably won't be mounting PPCs on it anytime soon. ;)

Re:Sorry... (2, Informative)

jangobongo (812593) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163013)

But, I have a feeling the first step is going to put this flat on it's face.

Mr. Owens say he has addressed this by making sure the lower half weighs far more than the upper half, and some other design modifications. The whole thing (pic [com.com] ) weighs a ton and a half, though.

I'd love to see a project like this tackled on "Junkyard Mega-Wars" [discovery.com] . Dueling Exoskeletons!

Re:Sorry... (2, Insightful)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163099)

Problem is, just making the lower half weigh more than the top != balance.

Back in the day a friend and I were working on designs for a workable mech. About 10ft tall. Chicken-Leg design.

For balance we used a custom designed counter-weight system that was tied into the drivetrain. From the models we built, it worked great - but only for flat surfaces.

Mechs and bumps/hills/ditches are a realy tough design problem. But just balanced walking is a huge problem to tackle first. Honda poured billions into the ASIMO just to get stable balanced walking.

Re:Sorry... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163519)

Reading the article between the lines, I think the operator/driver is supposed to provide the balance. Similar to stilts, only powered.

That said, I don't think it will work unless the movement rates for the extremities are really high and very well controlled. That takes lots of power, lots of hydraulic pressure, and lots of testing.

In Korea... (-1, Offtopic)

meatflower (830472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162806)

In Korea, only old people get excited about 18 ft. tall robot exoskeletons. With they "I for one welcome..." comment previously posted you all knew this cliche was coming.

Re:In Korea... (-1)

Feynman (170746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162817)

And in Soviet Russia, 18 ft. robot exoskeletons wear you.

Re:In Korea... (-1)

rjelks (635588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162849)

Fine....

Can you imagine a beowulf cluster of these?

Combine that with the Bear Proof Suit (4, Funny)

Suicyco (88284) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162808)

http://www.nfb.ca/grizzly/suit.html

Now THAT would be cool.

I guess... (3, Funny)

nebaz (453974) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162809)

it gets lonely in Alaska. :-)

Re:I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162897)

...especially if you are the kind of geek who builds giant robot suits in their back yard.

Desperate need for metal licking mecha in Alaska (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163263)

You need a mecha in Alaska to do all that tongue-touching metal work during the long Alaskan winters.

People get out of Gitmo faster than people get freed from touching their tongue to metal in perma-front country.

MechWars! (4, Funny)

sxltrex (198448) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162818)

I hereby demand a battle royale to the death between the homebrewed robot exoskelton and this guy. [improb.com]

Obvious Anime Influence. (3, Insightful)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162827)

Cute addition there with the head crests a la "Patlabor." And yet I'm still rather disappointed. Where is the 14' energy sword? Jet boosters? Particle beam rifle? Facetious, yes, but it is strange that amid these dizzying technological advancements, humanity's achievements in the field of robotics, circa 2004, are analagous to the state of automotive technology circa 1904. Nevertheless, that is some pretty damn fine backyard engineering.

Re:Obvious Anime Influence. (1)

Feynman (170746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162901)

You forgot one other thing:

</i>

I disagree (-1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162848)

I don't like the idea of Darpa money going to this project.Does anyone know how much he got ?

There is no mention if it can even move. I searched for mpegs.

Re:I disagree (1)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162932)

He's paid for the entire thing himself (about $15,000). DARPA has funded other powered armor projects, but not this one.

Re:I disagree (1)

procrastitron (841667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162942)

No, the Darpa project is completely seperate. Darpa is sponsoring a Berkeley project which already has working legs and can carry oversized packs. For an image of the Darpa-funded, Berkeley project go to here [com.com]

Re:I disagree (2, Informative)

JuggleGeek (665620) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163091)

He isn't getting any DARPA money.

From the article:

In all, the materials for the project have cost him $15,000 so far. Not bad for a killing (or at least potentially flame-throwing, car-mashing) machine.

That's a lot less than the $50 million that the U.S. military, through its Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) division, has devoted to research into a smaller, lighter exoskeleton that can be used on the battlefield.

DARPA has been pursuing the idea of a "Starship Troopers"-inspired soldier at least since 2000, when it started its Exoskeletons for Human Performance Augmentation program.

HOW LONG? (2, Funny)

wcitechnologies (836709) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162858)

Oh great, put the robots in the place where we can't live. They'll multiply... then they'll develope new, improved A.I. They will take over the economy with their new hoverdrive technology... We won't know if it is us or them who'll attack first-- I just know we're gonna have to scortch the sky because of this.

Good luck! (1)

ZSpade (812879) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162863)

Owens said he can't afford top-of-the line equipment, like infrared sensors and electronics that would govern the motion.

In order to even think about getting something like this working, you're going to need a very advanced computer system, and sensors for imput. Honda and Toyota havn't been pooring hundreds of millions of dollars into humanoid robot creation cause the only trick is making the legs heavier that the body. Really, I'll be suprised if this thing takes more than two steps forward before falling flat on it's face... Unless that is, it falls on it's back instead.

Re:Good luck! (1)

Quino (613400) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163105)

Yeah, I'd hate to be negative (and this is a totally cool project, kudos to the guy) but that's the first thing I thought: getting this thing to walk around is going to be a challenge.

However, he's not trying to build an automonous robot like Honda or Sony. To me it seems that an exoskeleton is the place to start: if it wasn't for the fact that walking upright on two legs is a bit of a controls hat-trick!

I'd imagine that a robot on wheels, with arms that move as you move your own arms would be a more attainable first step for a hobby.

Then again, maybe this guy really does have some clever ideas as to how to walk around without tipping over ... still, can you imagine the complexity of staying upright while you lift and lug heavy things around? Heck, even leaning against something to push it while on two robotic legs is complicated, much less ripping up trees by the roots and swinging them over your head Anime-style (I exaggerate, but this more or less seems to be the goal).

Fishing.. (1)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162867)

I once caught a fish this big......

obscure movie reference...

Re:Fishing.. (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162929)


You mean this Kevin Kline [imdb.com] movie?

Re:Fishing.. (1)

mbrewthx (693182) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162960)

you are correct!!!! The scene in the factory where he takes control of the two robot arms.

Re:Fishing.. (1)

Blue-Footed Boobie (799209) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162986)

Was it DAVE!

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106673/

Techical knowledge is there, but not with this guy (4, Interesting)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162869)

The control problems are not trivial, and I doubt that this guy will be able to solve them. But a lot of these problems have already been solved by Sarcos [sarcos.com] . In particular, look at this page [sarcos.com] , especially at the "Sensuit" and the "Large Arm."

The Large Arm is especially impressive, holding a freakin anvil like it was a stein of beer!

If you could build the whole body of the Sensuit to a large enough scale that the whole pilot can be encased in a haptic feedback harness, you'd have a viable mecha.

Re:Techical knowledge is there, but not with this (2, Insightful)

aliasptr (684593) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162984)

Wow someone used the word "control". After working on a VERY, VERY... VERY simple servo motor control project I have to agree with the skepticism. Who knows though I am stupid, other people aren't. I also haven't dedicated any "real" portion of my life to control systems. Also someone else brought up the impracticality, which seems to be a logical arguement to me. But again I don't really know that much. Overall it is pretty cool for what it's worth!

Re:Techical knowledge is there, but not with this (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163362)

Take a look at my Other Post [slashdot.org] for some links relating to the research that led up to the accomplishments of Sarcos. Not flashy stuff. Mostly concepts from old research. But if you put the concepts together, you realize that Mecha are indeed possible. Though I would agree with the other guy that pointed out that these are impractical for real warfare. But I would still watch a TV show with 2 human piloted mecha fighting!

Re:Techical knowledge is there, but not with this (1)

tafinucane (776537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163570)

Big difference: he's using mechanical linkages and hydraulics to operate it--not electronically controlled motors.

Have you ever watched a backhoe operator working? Or, for that matter, driven a car? It's a matter of relying on muscle memory to adjust for slop in the mechanism.

I don't think his project is much different than other [megasaurus.com] machines [robosaurus.com] on the [iwarp.com] monster-truck [transaurus.com] circuit [ushra.com] (read center paragraph for a riveting description of two giant battling robots). This guy's design is most notable in that it departs from the traditional transforming metal dino-sar theme.

The point is it's not rocket science to design a "control system" for what are basically jerry rigged front-end loaders. In fact, it's demolition derby science: rocket science's archnemesis.

Granted, it would be a bit more tricky to get it to actually walk, but I imagine the operators will just wheel the thing out on a flatbed and wave it's arms around a bit and shoot flames. All his talk of military and forest fighting capabilities is just successful buzz to get rednecks like me out at the local speedway.

Limited Usefulness (4, Insightful)

jgardn (539054) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162876)

The reason no one has ever actively pursued mecha is because they would be so inefficient. Tanks and such are built with a low profile, and if you ask frontline soldiers, they are only useful in limited roles. My army friend much prefers the new strykers because of their flexibility and reliability.

A mecha would be standing 20 feet in the battlefied, an open and tempting target to everything from bombers to tanks to helicopters and to RPGs. It would have limited mobility, be extremely difficult to keep in working condition, and will have less load capacity than its tracked or wheeled counterparts. In short, it would look cool, but would be a useless coffin.

In BattleTech, they make up for the obvious disadvantages of a mecha by giving them advantages over vehicles. Mecha are more reliable, more maneuvarable, able to take more damage and continue to function, and can carry more weapons. Even then, if you pit a balanced vehicle force against a balanced mecha force, ton for ton, credit for credit, the vehicles can easily overpower the mecha in most circumstances.

I don't want to discourage this backyard project. After all, how many inventions were made when there was no necessity, but a necessity was found at a later time? But I do want folks to exercise a bit of common sense. If mecha were such a great idea, we'd have used them in WWII. We certainly had the technology to build them back then.

Re:Limited Usefulness (2, Funny)

inkdesign (7389) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162989)

From the looks of it, that thing should have no problem converting to a big-rig, thus being the best of both worlds!

Re:Limited Usefulness (1)

procrastitron (841667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163024)

Why does the usefulness of a mecha have to be limited to war? Seriously, I think the guy's idea of using it at motor rallies is pretty good. It's also cost effective when you consider the price he's paying for it compared to the long term number of tickets that he'll sale. Also, when the technology advances enough some things like this could be very useful on construction sites. It could have the strength of a crane (a small one anyway), but be much more manuverable and versatile.

Re:Limited Usefulness (2, Insightful)

k12linux (627320) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163178)

Or how about disaster sites. Strong enough to pick up debris and slabs of concrete but agile enough to do it without knocking everything else onto victims.

That'd be cool anyhow. Even if it wouldn't be as fun as picking up your neighbor's house and hiding it while he is gone to the store. Too bad the huge footprints leading to the new location of the home would probably give you away.

Aliens got mechas right (2, Insightful)

leftie (667677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163037)

Mechas make perfect forklifts and industrial machines. There's some use for combat mechas in exotic terrain... mountains, underwater, etc

They'd make excellent car crushers, too :)

Re:Limited Usefulness (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163040)

I believe there was a coldwar statistic that stated the life expectancy of a tank in a NATO-Warsaw pact land war was about 6 minutes.

Re:Limited Usefulness (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163143)

Different conditions, differently equipped enemy. The M1A1 Abrams seemed to have survived pretty well in the last two Gulf Wars.

Re:Limited Usefulness (1)

Big_Al_B (743369) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163044)

Maybe mecha is not suitable for battlefield applications, but I could imagine warehouse and loading dock situations where they might be more useful.

That environment would cause less equipment stress (no terrain, no weather, no small/large arm fire) and would allow for smaller, lighter (no armor) and more simply constructed mecha.

Re:Limited Usefulness (3, Funny)

zardo (829127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163096)

Yeah but can a tank climb a building and snatch helicopters out of the air like king kong?

Re:Limited Usefulness (4, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163101)

I'm not too sure where that figure of 20ft for the height comes from.

I don't think there is any inherent reason why powered exo-skeletons would need to be anything like that big and provided they are reliable and able to cope with much the same terrain as general infantry I think they'd be quite effective in any battle situation.

I would guess the benefits an effective exo-skeleton could bring are in increased carrying capacity for the solider allowing them to carry more food, ammunition etc which would allow them to operate longer in the field with less reliance on supply lines.

Another aim would be to design a skeleton which enabled the solider to move more quickly and over longer distances than would normally be possible and maybe provide some increased protection from unfriendly weaponary.

I don't think anyone is suggesting building giant robots because as you say they would just be too easy to target and destroy.

I am guessing again that the key components in such a suit would be a lightweight, reliable powersource which preferably doesn't need a massive amount of fuel and strong lightweight materials for the skeleton it's self - this is in addition to all the wizzery needed to actually get the skeleton to function in the first place.

Any army which does develop an effective exo skeleton would be able to field a very dangerous weapon indeed, something capable of deploying powerful firepower, fielded in dispersed units of hard to hit small units, capable of sustained attacks into your territory, able to be inserted quickly and secretly in helicopters, parachutes etc.

Re:Limited Usefulness (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163295)

But that would fall under the heading of powered armor, rather than a true 'mech.

It may be hairsplitting on my part, but if we're going to talk about actually building devices that have their roots in SF, we should use the appropriate terms.

Aside from that, though, you're right. Powered armor is far more likely to be practically useful than a honest-to-$deity 'mech.

Re:Limited Usefulness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163310)

apparently your friend hasn't been shot at while in a Stryker. their armour is not adequate, which is why they haven't been deployed to the more active regions of Iraq.

God Hates Me (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162892)

Or, God does not exist. Either way, it doesn't look very good. Merry Christmas to you!

This is pretty cool. (1)

Video Gamer Z (840397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162908)

Although I do agree that it'll probably fall flat on its first step. Cool backyard project though.

this is the beginning... (1, Funny)

meatflower (830472) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162917)

This is the beginning I tell you. We must destroy SkyNet while we still can!

Three words - Alaska Needs Women (4, Funny)

K8Fan (37875) | more than 9 years ago | (#11162962)

The things men do when there are not enough women around. I guess it keeps his hands from going crazy on those long alaskan nights.

By the pictures (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11162999)

It is obvious that this was not designed by rogue chicken scientists. It is nowhere near sleak enough.

Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (4, Interesting)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163009)



Forget this guy in the post. He clearly doesn't have a clue. But the problems have been largely solved in the past several decades with DARPA money.

If you put a full body haptic interface around someone strapped into a huge robotic body, you'd have it. (See the Immersion Corp link.) But the thing would have to be freaking huge. A full-body haptic cockpit would be something like a sphere 8' in diameter, implying a mecha 30 foot tall!

Perhaps have the cockpit controlling separate and much smaller mecha body remotely, and just have the haptic controls on one of those motion simulation platforms.

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (1)

procrastitron (841667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163069)

Why a haptic interface? The thing doesn't have to have a massive number of motions to be useful. I'd think that a more videogame-controller like interface could be sufficient. Such an interface wouldn't need the cockpit to be so large.

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163276)

The haptic interface is not to give a lareg degree of motions. Force-feedback is what is critical. Controlling and balancing an entire body in combat is going to be next to impossible, unless the thing is statically balanced -- in which case it will have all the dexterity/manuverability of a walrus on dry land. But for *real* humanoid to humanoid combat at a large scale, the movements are going to have to be dynamically balanced. If you could work up a full bady haptic interface, you could then use a person's natural control system to do this work.

An alternative would be to control the robot like a fighting video-game character, and actually have the robot itself do the fine coordination of movement and balance. But such tech is on the level of Honda's Asimo [honda.com] . I somehow doubt that this guy can muster that!

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163107)


I don't like the tone in your post concerning this mans efforts, at least he isn't on a public discussion board comparing another mans efforts with privately funded endevours.
Yes I looked at the links, they suck. Where are those cool things today helping us out, looks like they are still in the research phase even after 15+ years for some of them.

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163215)

The problems in this area are *control* problems. Read the guy's web site. He doesn't give me a lot of confidence he knows what those problems really are. Actually building the Mecha is straightforward. The hard part is keeping it from falling down and letting it be controlled efficiently. Otherwise, this is just going to be like Robosaurus [robosaurus.com] . Good for monster-truck showpieces, but pitiful at any real hand-to-hand combat.

And as for the stuff being in the research phase, Sarcos Corp, which is linked to in my other post [slashdot.org] , has solved them using the research pointed to by the links. (Look at the giant arm holding the ANVIL like it was a frying pan.)

Sorry there wasn't a whole lot of flashy pictures in the links, and only *concepts*. But someone with a brain would read and observe what's on the other side of the links, note the long-ago dates of a lot of the research, and realize that such Mecha are actually within out technical reach. All we need is funding!

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163332)

I did realise and also rejected your points. Do you not think this guy is going to realise the problems you mentioned? In any case, he hasn't even finished it yet and you're damning him for at least trying!

Re:Other *Real* Mecha/Teleop links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163604)

If you put a full body haptic interface around someone strapped into a huge robotic body, you'd have it. (See the Immersion Corp link.) But the thing would have to be freaking huge. A full-body haptic cockpit would be something like a sphere 8' in diameter, implying a mecha 30 foot tall!

Midgets and Dwarfs are the answer. However this will give them the chance to get back at us for all the dwarf-tossing contests...

How about some prize money... (4, Interesting)

Goldenhawk (242867) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163023)

Sure, it wouldn't be as "sexy" as the X-Prize, but wouldn't some privately sponsored prize money do wonders for this longtime human dream? Call it, say, the Mecha Prize, and offer a few million bucks to whoever builds the first mecha that can go a half mile, pick up a Dodge Neon and move it in the air for 50 feet, then return to the starting line. Or something similar.

I have no doubt that someone as creative as Rutan is out there, and with a little incentive and the promise of some real financial gain could use modern actuators and pressure pads and gyro sensors and so forth to finally create a useful mecha.

I also have no doubt that (unlike Spaceship One) a mecha that could complete the above test would immediately be of great value in quite a few industrial and/or emergency applications.

Not as sexy? (1)

second class skygod (242575) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163594)

I'd say that depends entirely on what human features one chooses to enhance. Think of the possibilities!

-scsg

Suit (2, Funny)

OneArmedMan (606657) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163038)

Honey!, Where did you put my Super Suit !?!

Hmmm... (1)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163054)

Let's hope his server has a hefty exoskeleton as well...

Steel Cage Match (0, Redundant)

gremlins (588904) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163061)

I want to see this guy fight the guy in the Bear Suit [www.nfb.ca]

hope he didn't forget.... (2, Insightful)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163082)

"...and a gas engine mounted on the back to generate the power needed."

i hope he's got intentions to incorporate some sorta personal heating system....-40 and metal is not a good combination

All your..... (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163088)

Wait til they team up with the Tron Guy [tronguy.net] .

Re:All your..... (1)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163337)

I clicked...

I saw...

...and I expect a few nightmares over it tonight.

I just knew it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163092)

I knew with certainty that the first homebrewed robot exoskeleton would come from one of the freak states. And you would be too busy enjoying the nice weather in Hawaii.

In Korea... (-1)

10537 (699839) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163148)

...only old people have extremely impractical and potentially life-threatening exoskeletons.

A good use for this. (1)

sedition (662413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163172)

It'd make a great extra-planetary exploration device if it were sealed. Could you imagine these things climbing around Valles Marineris where the scale of the enviroment would match the scale of the suit.

a HellCat Mech or a Robotech Veritech..... (0, Offtopic)

Desmoden (221564) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163186)


and even I would join the Army =)

Use the coralized link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163234)

...and save the server some bandwidth, and all of us a PITA (why the hell don't people post Coralized links alongside the main one in the article?!?!?!)

http://www.neogentronyx.com.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]

UniBuilder...... (1)

Dark Demon (575498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163235)

At least Mr. Kaczynski has found a more productive hobby..........now if management can figure out how to offshore it...

Gorilla vs Robot Wrestling (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163246)

I can authoritatively state this would make awesome television

Dr. Stephen Hawking's is better (1)

no_choice (558243) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163247)

http://www.paralinks.net/paralinksarchives/hawking exo.html

Japanese obsession with giant robots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163274)

Compensating for something?

Not a robot! (1)

xv4n (639231) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163293)

Why people insist in calling "robot" something that is not a robot?? A robot must be autonomous , that is, no human intervention involved.

Other leg-enhancing system? (2, Informative)

tyroney (645227) | more than 9 years ago | (#11163316)

Anyone? Not the Berkeley exoskelton thing. I seem to recall, back in the 90's, showed up in pop sci... some kind of strap-on device that was supposed to augment your leg motions. (military was interested or actively developing, if I recall) I think it was mostly mechanical, I'm not sure if it merely multiplied the movement or affected the force, and if I recall the bulk of the legs/levers stuck out behind and below the user. (kind of like thick flamingo legs, or some other animal similar but more cool) The end result was supposed to be 2x the leg motion, not tons more effort. Kind of like more efficient and stable and jointed stilts.

Anyone remember or know what I'm talking about? I can't seem to find anything about it.

Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11163486)

only old korean people signing it digitally
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