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Posted: Aug 05, 2012
Stompy: The giant, rideable walking robot (w/video)
(Nanowerk News) Meet Stompy: An open-source, 18ft wide, 4,000 pound, 6-legged hydraulic robot that you can ride; if its designers realize their dream of raising $65,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter to build it.
Project Hexapod is a team of 3 instructors, 1 TA, and 15 students based out of a makerspace in Somerville, Massachusetts called Artisan’s Asylum. They’ve spent the last four months running a class on how to design giant robots, and Stompy is the end result. Their instructors (Gui Cavalcanti, James Whong, and Dan Cody) are professional roboticists who have designed military and commercial robot legs, arms, prosthetics, walking machines, and more. Their TA (Adam Bercu) is a national champion Battlebots builder, and our students come from backgrounds ranging as widely as engineers working for defense contractors to professional programmers to electronics enthusiasts.
Project Hexapod wants to make large-scale robots easier to build, and inspire people to build them.
The robot isn't just being built for fun, though - it has incredibly practical purposes, as well. With 6 force-sensitive legs and a ground clearance of 6 feet, the robot will be able to 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. Not only that, but while navigating such terrain, Stompy could carry 1,000 pounds at 2-3 mph, and up to 4,000 pounds at 1 mph. This is important because in disaster areas like Haiti's Port Au Prince, it's taken more than three years to clear the rubble out of some areas - meaning that throughout that entire time, people have had to be rescued or resupplied by helicopter, because no ground vehicle could reach them. Stompy (and the technology it represents) could easily reach people who can't be reached by any other means in a natural disaster.