Human-driven battle robots are already under construction by MegaBots and an array of Japanese-based Kuratas. While those primarily focus on DESTRUCTION! …there are others focused on SPEED. Entering the race this year is Furrion and their human-piloted, all-electric Prosthesis racing mech. Designed by engineer Jonathan Tippett, the 7,700 lb. Prosthesis was recently unveiled at this year’s CES with Furrion stating this as “the first machine of its kind, ushering in a new era of large scale, high-performance mech technology.”
Looking like a cross between Boston Dynamics’ BigDog and Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests, it’s touted as the first ‘off-road racing mech’ and ‘ultimate union of pilot and machine’, which makes use of Furrion’s new, large scale exo-bionic technology platform. Furrion hopes the design will be the first in a series of giant racing machines designed to compete against each other using an amplified, all-electric power system and human pilot.
In 2014, prior to being picked up by Furrion, Jonathan and team sought funding on Indiegogo with a campaign that gained lots of interest, but only raised 30% of a $100,000 goal. He now leads the initiative as founder and CEO of Furrion Robotics Inc. where he is continuing the development of, not only, the Prosthesis racing mech, but ‘a new breed’ of all-electric mechs.
The Prosthesis functions by a human pilot using both arms to manipulate the mech’s outer legs and the pilots lower appendages to control the inner legs. The pilot’s movements are amplified using the machines on-board electric-powered motor, which controls a series of hydraulics to actuate the various legs in a odd, otherworldly motion and at speeds of up to 20mph.
Unfortunately, the display model at CES was missing most of the controls needed to actually drive the machine. You’ll need to be in peak condition anyway, as Furrion states it will take an athlete to get it moving at top speeds–which leaves me out. They also state that it’s capable of handling any terrain. Seems suspect with no side-axis or ball-jointed movement, so guess we’ll just have to wait and see on that one. Until then, here’s a complete rundown of the Prosthesis’ currently known specs:
Mass: 7700 lbs (3500kg)
Height: 13.8 ft (4.2m)
Width: 16.4 ft (5m)
Length: 9.8 ft (3m)
Top Speed: 20 mph (30km/h)
Run Time: 30-120 minutes
Power Plant: 96V x 20kWh Lithium-ion battery
Peak Output: 170kW (225HP)
Motion System: 100% human-controlled, electro-hydraulics with direct haptic feedback
Suspension System: 50cm travel, custom engineered air/coil overs shocks