Avatar-Like Korean Manned Robot Takes First Baby Steps

A robot designed by a veteran of science fiction blockbusters which bear a striking resemblance to the military robots seen in the movie Avatar has taken its first baby steps. The robot standing in a room on the outskirts of Seoul, South Korea stands four meters (13 feet) tall and weighs 1.5 tons.

Method-2 robot is the first of its kind

In a Facebook post, designer Vitaly Bulgarov said, “Everything we have been learning so far on this robot can be applied to solve real-world problems.”

His previous work experience includes work on film series such as Transformers, Terminator and Robocop, reports phys.org.

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Its creators at the Hankook Mirae Technology, a robotics company in South Korea, claim it is the world’s first. About 30 engineers there worked hard conducting initial tests Tuesday afternoon, notes phys.org. For the engineers, it was a challenge to build the giant robot because the unprecedented scale meant they had nothing to refer to.

Company chairman Yang Jin-Ho said, “Our robot is the world’s first manned bipedal robot and is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go (unprotected).”

Yang, who has always dreamed of building his own robot, said that since 2014, he has invested 242 billion won ($200 million), and brought to life what only seemed possible in movies and cartoons.

A pilot sitting inside the robot’s torso made some limb movements, and the robot, Method-2, mimicked them with his metal arms, each weighing 130 kilograms (286 pounds). It is so huge that it is twice the size of a tall man, and when it takes a step, the ground shakes with a loud whirring of motors.

Real-world use still unclear

Method-2 has grabbed the media’s attention due to its enormous size, but its creators say that the core achievement of the project is the technology they developed. How the robot will be used is unclear so far, but it is seen more as a test-bed for various technologies that will make it possible for the creators to build robots of any type and size in the future, notes phys.org.

Various industries ranging from manufacturing and construction to entertainment have raised inquiries, informed Yang. Queries have also been raised about if it could be deployed along the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone along the border with North Korea, notes phys.org.

The robot is tethered by a power cable and is still a bit wobbly on its feet. Yang said it will be ready for sale by the end of 2017 at a price of around 10 billion won ($8.3 million). It “is one year old so it is taking baby steps,” Yang said.

You can watch the full video of this robot from here.