As cars become progressively faster and larger, help for pedestrians might be at hand in the form of Prosthesis – a 5-metre tall, battery-powered walking machine from Canada.
A team of engineers in Vancouver is building Prosthesis, a gargantuan human-controlled robot designed to walk and run.
As car drivers are now surrounded by air bags, crumple zones and computer aids, so the pilot of Prosthesis will be protected by a three-and-half ton roll cage – enough to see off even the most aggressive SUV. And unlike most motorized vehicles, piloting the robot will require physical effort – movements not unlike those made on a cross trainer at a gym.
Prosthesis is designed to work without the aid of computers. Mastery over the robot has to be learned in the same way as one learns how to ride a bicycle by trial and error.
According the engineer behind the project, Jonathan Tippet: “With the relentless and unchecked automation of everything we do, we are trying to remind people that technology was invented to improve our quality of life, and that doesn’t always mean just doing everything for you. Sometimes that means doing something really, really challenging. Sometimes that means taking on something that many have dreamed of, but no one has dared try before. Like building and learning to pilot a 5-metre tall, 3,500kg walking machine that you use your whole body to control, without computers to help you.”
Tippet has mounted a public appeal to raise £50,000 towards the final version of the robot. A contribution of £1 sponsors a stainless steel bolt.