Ed Driscoll

I For One Welcome Our New Hexapod-Riding Overlords

“The World Deserves a Giant Rideable Hexapod,” the IEEE Spectrum Website reports:

Okay, look. In a lot of ways, we’re really not living in the world of the future. Those jet packs we were promised? They’re more like ducted fan packs. And flying cars? Really just driveable planes. Sigh.

And then there’s Stompy. A giant hexapod. That you can ride in. The world needs this.

Stompy is the brainrobot of Artisian’s Asylum, a hackerspace out in Boston. This is a serious undertaking: the guys behind it are experienced roboticists from places like Boston Dynamics, Barrett, and DEKA. The robot will be powered by a 135 horsepower engine driving a whooole bunch of hydraulics, and while it’s largely designed to stomp around in an exhibitory manner, the team has big, huge, world-changing plans:

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.

Stompy’s builders should hire Syd Mead to put the finishing touches on their new design.

Incidentally, you have to love any group that’s fundraising with T-shirts such as these: