Is this likely to be the next wave in robotics? Six-legged walking machines that are capable of carrying heavy freight, towing large payloads, or erecting tall buildings? And let’s not discount the militarized version! Six-legged mechanized warriors stacked with missiles, rail guns, and giant foot pads capable of crushing entire columns of enemy infantry! Seriously, is this the future? Because I’m starting to get a tad nervous…
The people responsible are what is known as Project Hexapod, a teacher-student cooperative working out of Massachusetts’ Artisan Asylum. For almost a year now, they’ve been working towards their goal of creating a walking, rideable robot. Beginning in April of 2012, the group began work on the design, and after four months, they launched a website and began soliciting donations. And of course, they promised plenty of returns for those pledging money.
For those making modest donations, stickers, photos and T-shirts were the common prize. But for those pledging more substantial donations – on the scale of say $200 – they promise to take an object of the donor’s choice and crush it for them. They even promise to post a video of the destruction on YouTube for the world to enjoy. And for those pledging $300 or more, they will get to ride the 18-foot wide steel beast while those giving $1000 will even get to man the controls. Look out world! The only thing more cool than that would be if you could float a cool $300,000, in which case they will construct one for you!
Much like the Hoverbike, this Project represents a new wave in the field of technological development. Rather than being in the hands of private industry, or dependent on their investment capitol, here we see enterprising individuals going directly to the public to make their inventions a reality. Much like alternative media and indie publishing, we once again see the internet cutting out the middle man and the traditional gatekeepers, and opening up opportunities for those with dreams (and an extensive technical background!).
Check out the video of Stompy’s development below. And if you are one of those rare individuals who can score a ride on this behemoth, let me wish you good luck, and good stomping!