TheBlaze has seen Kickstarter -- an alternative fundraising website -- gain funding through donations for projects like high-tech businesswear and a Ron Paul-themed video game, but this latest takes the tech to a whole new level.
It has six legs, is 18-feet wide, weighs 4,000 pounds and you can ride it -- rather, you will be able to ride it once it's fully built. The giant hexapod robot called "Stompy" being created by the folks at Project Hexapod has surpassed its funding goal on Kickstarter of $65,000 to make this project a reality and still has 16 days of funding to go, so it's bound to raise even more.
Stompy is described as a engine-powered hydraulic walking robot that can "walk over broken terrain that varies from mountainous areas, to rubble piles, to water up to 7 or 8 feet deep - everywhere existing ground vehicles can't go." In addition to being built with the potential for fun, the team writes on the Kickstarter site that they see the robot being used for things like rubble clean up, noting how long it has taken to clear the aftermath of Haiti's earthquake more than two years ago.
Watch the project's promo video:
Aside from being a robot you can ride, the creation of Stompy according to the Kickstarter site, will also "drive a personal robotics revolution" and lead to technology and techniques that "make large-scale robots easier to build." The team will make the plans for the project open source in order to make both of these a reality:
Once we finish this robot, we’re releasing our plans, our CAD, our diagrams, the presentations from all the lectures we gave in class, our lists of materials and parts, everything. The construction and control techniques we're using will drop the cost of controlled hydraulics by an order of magnitude or two from where they are now, and will make giant robots affordable to small groups of enthusiasts everywhere.
Here is a simulation of how the hexapod robot will work once fully constructed:
Check out this test of one of Stompy's legs:
The hexapod robot is being constructed by a team of professional roboticists and students at Artisan's Asylum (a community workshop) in Somerville, Mass.
If the project is able to raise $95,000, the creators say they will include sensors on the robot that will "accurately detect and respond to rough terrain, allowing for a smooth ride over a much greater variety of terrain." The extra funding would also help them build in a capability for more speed and some autonomous movement. As of the time of this posting, funding has surpassed $70,600.
The team hopes to demo a finished product in May 2013.
(H/T: Popular Science)