So you're proud of that Segway you're getting around in, are you? Think you're pretty hot stuff on your little Raskal scooter, huh? Well get ready to meet the future of all-terrain geek mobility, with this huge six-legged robot that you can fund on Kickstarter.
That's right, a six-legged robot. I'm still collecting my jaw up off the floor.
It's called Project Hexapod and it's basically a bunch of geeks in the US who want to create a hydraulic, mechanised robot that measures 5.5 metres in width and weighs 1.8 tonnes. It has two seats — one for a driver and one for a passenger — and they're offering Kickstarter backers rides based on how much they fund the project.
The robot is aptly named Stompy, and it's being built, not only because it's amazing, but also because the guys at Project Hexapod actually want to use it to teach students about applied hydraulics and practical robotics. The team talks about the practical advantages of Stompy:
The robot isn't just being built for fun, though - it has incredibly practical purposes, as well. With 6 force-sensitive legs and a ground clearance of 6 feet, the robot will be able to walk over broken terrain that varies from mountainous areas, to rubble piles, to water up to 7 or 8 feet deep - everywhere existing ground vehicles can't go. Not only that, but while navigating such terrain, Stompy could carry 1,000 pounds at 2-3 mph, and up to 4,000 pounds at 1 mph. This is important because in disaster areas like Haiti's Port Au Prince, it's taken more than three years to clear the rubble out of some areas - meaning that throughout that entire time, people have had to be rescued or resupplied by helicopter, because no ground vehicle could reach them. Stompy (and the technology it represents) could easily reach people who can't be reached by any other means in a natural disaster.
It kicked off on Kickstarter a little while ago, and as of today, the team only needs about $US650 to reach its funding goal. My next question is, when do pre-orders start? [Kickstarter]