Hajime Research’s Mobile Suit
Here’s one I couldn’t resist passing along: Hajime Sakamoto in Japan is making notable progress on a real-life mobile suit — a 4-meter tall robot you can pilot from the inside.
No stranger to biped robotics, Sakamoto-san has built a number of successful bots over the years, starting with normal hobby-sized Robo-One robots. But for Hajime, biped robots are much more than a hobby; he founded a company (Hajime Research Institute) to drive relentlessly toward bigger and bigger robots, eventually to build something very much like the Gundam mobile suit of science fiction.
In the video released just this week, you can see how far he’s come — he has the lower half of a 4-meter-tall mobile suit working. That’s Hajime himself in the pilot seat, controlling the legs as they carry him for a short walk in the shop.
There’s a great article at Gizmag about this development. It includes a photo gallery, along with some useful background about other human-rideable biped robots in the last decade. Also be sure to check out Hajime Robot’s web site.
What’s especially interesting about this work, to a robot hobbyist, is the design of those legs — it really does look just like a typical hobby humanoid leg design. It’s just that it’s about 6 times taller (which means roughly 200 times more massive, and about a thousand times stronger). It’s fun to think that when you’re designing or building a little hobby robot, you too are following in the footsteps of someone who may go down in history as the creator of the first true mech.