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South Korea's 'Method-2' manned robot takes its first steps

By Karen Graham     Dec 31, 2016 in Technology
Gunpo - A giant and very scary-looking manned robot out of James Cameron’s Avatar took its first steps in South Korea the other day. But the giant robot comes in peace, according to its creators at Hankook Mirae Technology, a South Korean robotics firm.
Method-2 is 13-feet (4 meters) tall and requires a human pilot who sits inside the robot's torso. The pilot's arm movements are mimicked by the robot's mechanical arms, each weighing 286 pounds (130 kilograms).
The robot is twice the height of a human man and when it walks, it shakes the ground and is accompanied by the loud whirring of its motors. The only thing confining it to its test facility is an electrical tether, but that will be fixed before it becomes available by the end of 2017, according to Fox News.
The one-and-a-half ton mechanical monster is the world's first manned bipedal robot, according to its makers. "It is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go (unprotected)," said company chairman Yang Jin-Ho.
Phys.Org is reporting that Yang has always been fascinated with robots, and as a child, he dreamed of making his own robot. He has invested 242 billion won ($200 million) in the project since 2014 to "bring to life what only seemed possible in movies and cartoons."
The Method-2 has a number of industrial applications and the company already has quite a number of inquiries from companies expressing an interest in owning a robot. But deep, deep pockets will be required. The robot is expected to sell for around 10 billion won, or $8.3 million, reports Quartz.
Artist Vitaly Bulgarov has worked on robotic machines like Method-2 for movies including Transformers: Age of Extinction and the 2014 remake of RoboCop. He joined the team of 30 engineers at Hankook in 2014, and within a year, the company had a proof-of-concept prototype ready.
While the creators of the robot envision it being used in construction yards and warehouses, it could be used in the dismantling of the Fukushima power plant, but is not expected to contribute to an apocalyptic robot war, even though Phys.Org suggested it could be used to patrol the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.
More about manned robot, South Korea, industry applications, defence applications, oneyear in development