May 06, 2005

Mini Cooper Transformer

Mini Cooper r50 Robot Conversion via Hack-a-day

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Well, no one said that you couldn't build Transformers. Looks like someone's set up a page describing the building of a "vehicle to autonomous biped robot conversion for the Mini Cooper r50". That's right, taking an Mini Cooper r50 and building a larger-than-human robot out of it. The page contains short movies, sketches, and pictures of the robot as it goes through various walking tests, moving tests, and building stages, as well as conversations with the engineer.

The movies are especially interesting, containing things like arm dexterity tests and tracking tests, as well a very impressive car stopping test, consisting of one robot, the engineer in a car, and a wall. Talk about hitting a wall with your work.

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Sadly, though, it's a fake. The videos tend to have a little too much smooth action and gloss to the robot -- it's computer animated. Especially check out the light tracking in a dark environment (reminds me of Halo), and the car stopping test (who's lighting doesn't reflect the environment that well -- the light sources on the robot are a little bright for the flat light scenario of the workshop).

The car stopping stunt is also impossible with today's technology. (Walking robots are barely possible today: robots that not only walk, track a car, then place it's body in a precariously unbalanced situation where the arm must receive thousands of pounds of pressure, while it has to exert an equal pressure and maintain balance... and do it in such a way as to not damage a car? Nope.) But it's a fun fake, one worth dreaming about, even if it's not true.

Posted by Ted Stevko at May 6, 2005 02:26 AM | TrackBack