The Future is Here: The Mantis Hexapod Tank!

MantisWhen it comes to vehicles of the future, which may or may not include militarized land-crawlers, hexapods seem to be the way to go! Remember Project Hexapod and their Kickstarter-funded concept, Stompy? Well, it turns out an animatronics and special-effects designer who’s movie credits include “Prometheus” and “Lost in Space”  has produced his own. It’s known as Mantis, and while it may not be the first hexapod robot he’s ever built, it is the first giant-sized version.

The product of four years of research and development, Denton has managed to create what he claims is the biggest operational hexapod in the world. Measuring some 2.8 meters (9.2 feet) in height and weighing in at a hefty1815 kilos (2 tons), the giant robot is powered by a 2.2-liter turbo diesel engine and is designed to take on any type of terrain. But given the fact that it relies on six articulating legs to get around, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

In addition, it can be controlled remotely via Wi-Fi, but why do that when you can climb into the cockpit and operate it like a true cartoonish supervillain? Naturally, you won’t seem so intimidating since the speed and power are still pretty limited, but the machine is relatively new. And in truth, hexapod technology is still in its early phases. We might have to wait a few more years before the nuclear-powered, missile-toting version is available.

According to the Mantis Web site, the hexapod is available for private hire, custom commissions, events, and sponsorship. Much like Stompy, Mantis is not intended for general sale, so don’t make any plans to ride one to work in the near future either. But you might want to earmark some of your savings for the commercial model that’s sure to be released sometime in the 2020’s.

And be sure to check out the video of the Mantis in action:


The Future is Here: Real Mechas!

It’s official. Now you can buy a real mechanized suit of armor… provided you have 1.3 million dollars just lying around. Unveiling their latest invention this past weekend during this years Wonder Festival in Tokyo, Suidobashi Heavy Industry has created the world’s first fully operational mecha! It seems that all that anime was right after all.

Unlike their previous work – the giant robot named Vaudeville which could only move it’s arms – the new Kuratos model can moves its arms, torso, and even wheel itself around, though only at a modest speed of 10km/h. Still, beats the hell out of walking!

It also comes equipped with a full-on master-slave control system, a state-of-the-art display and targeting system, an integrated cockpit with display devices, and even some curious weapons! This includes an H2O rocket launcher, perfect those summer water-pistol fights, and two arm-mounted Gatling guns that are capable of firing 6000 BB’s a minute. Oddly enough, the gun’s controls are linked to the cockpits interactive display device which fires the gun when the pilot-controller smiles!

Oh God, that’s going to be hard to control! One minute, you’re walking along in downtown Tokyo, the next minute, you’ve triggered a shooting spree because you can’t stop thinking about that funny joke somebody told the night before. You ever try not laughing in church or some other public forum? Well, it’s a little like that, except with heavy firepower!

And given the nature of this invention, it’s only a matter of time before someone puts some serious money into weaponizing it. For the rich and world-weary, it’s also the perfect toy for alleviating stress and making an impression on those snooty neighbors. I don’t envy the traffic cops which have to pull them over and issue a ticket though!

And yes, it’s not exactly Macross or Full Metal Panic material, but once again, it’s a step in that direction. Soon enough, we may be seeing mechas designed for the military use and crowd control. I can see how those water rockets would prove useful, and if the BB guns were upgraded to fire rubber bullets instead of tiny, put-your-eye-out shards of metal, then so much the better. And Robocop would have his work cut out for him having to compete with SWAT mechas like these!

Below is a helpful instructional video provided by Suidobashi. Enjoy and try not laugh. It makes the robot open fire!