KAIST Developing Star Wars Walker! (Video)

Cue up The Imperial March, warn the rebels on Hoth, and slice open a Tan tan, Korean researchers have developed a robot that resembles those walking death machines from Star Wars. It’s called the HUBO FX-1. The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) specializes in humanoid robots (HUBO-2 is a competitor with ASIMO) and the HUBO FX-1 is essentially a chair on a pair of robot legs. A human sits on top using a joystick to maneuver the robot around at a slow walk. Describing this thing doesn’t really do it justice. Check out the video after the break.

There's a family resemblance, wouldn't you say?
There's a family resemblance, wouldn't you say?

It isn’t the first robotic chair we’ve seen, but at just over two meters tall and weighing 150 kg, the FX-1 is certainly the biggest. And the FX-1 just looks cooler than the OmniZero9 we saw at the 16th Robo-one competition, or the Panasonic mobile bed-chair. According to their website, KAIST hopes to use the FX-1 as a means of transporting the elderly, helping after accidents and disasters, and heavy lifting in an industry setting. The walker probably isn’t fast enough for military applications, but KAIST intends to speed up the robot’s pace. They also plan on giving the robot its own built-in battery, the ability to climb stairs, and increased carrying capacity – the robot can lift around 100 kg (220 lbs) for now. I’m not sure if the FX-1 will ever make it out of the lab, but it’s a great example of how man and machine may one day work together…to make nerds everywhere squee with delight.

[photo credit: KAIST, LucasFilms]

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