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The Land Walker is the first 3.4 meters tall, two-legged exoskeleton robot with a cockpit and two cannons mounted on the arms that for now shoots out rubber balls. It does not actually walk, however, instead shuffling on wheels hidden under its "feet" at approximately 1.5 km/h. This means it is not technically a walker; it merely has the appearance of one. It was invented by Masaaki Nagumo and created by researchers who hope to someday create similar robots to be used in the military and in defense against crimes. But for now it is used as a way to promote the idea of robotic defense.
The Land Walker stands at about 3.4 meters tall, weighing about 1000 kg. It "walks", or shuffles, at a speed of around 1.5 km per hour. It has a cockpit, similar to a small airplane, big enough to seat one human. Two cannons are mounted on the arms of the robot which shoots out rubber or plastic balls. It is the world's first genuine bipedal robot because unlike previous robots that are unipedal, the Land Walker moves its feet one at a time by shuffling each foot with wheels.
The Sakakibara Kikai Company researchers in Japan built the Land Walker to initially be used in exhibits and demonstrations, as it is not yet the perfect robot. For now it shoots soft rubber balls from its two cannons, but someday it could shoot out more severe weapons, like bullets and bombs. With more research development and funding, a bigger motor, and more speed, the Land Walker could become a powerful defense, as well as a great psychological weapon because it would intimidate and cause fear in opponents.
The concept of giant, human-like robots have been around for years. These ideas appear in TV shows such as "The Six Million Dollar Man", films such as "Alien" and "Star Wars", and science fiction comics and books. People like the idea of these giant robots because it keeps the dreams of people alive, meaning that they stay hopeful that one day these robots will exist. Although the Land Walker was created in 2006 as the first bipedal robot, there are many more similar robots throughout history from different countries and cultures.
Previous Human-like Machines
The idea of two-legged giant robots has been around for years. Mecha, meka in Japanese, refers to all things mechanical, including cars, computers, and even human-like robots. Mechas are popular in the science fiction genre of video games, films, comics, and TV series. They typically work in construction, politics, or fighting wars. Also, mechas are referred to large and bulky suits that protect the human. In Western culture, mechas are referred to building sized robots.
The Land Walker is very similar to the biped robot Enryu, which was also created by the Sakakibara Kikai Co. in Tmsuk, Japan. The Enryu stands at a height of 3.5 meters. It shuffles faster than the Land Walker because it uses caterpillar-like tracks instead of legs. It was built to help in emergency situations, like rushing into a burning building, lifting heavy objects, and rescuing people. Its arms act like human arms, which is different from the Land Walker's arms.
Kid's Walker Cyclops
Weighing around 800 pounds and standing at about 7 feet tall, the Kid's Walker Cyclops is a battery-operated mecha made for the purpose of kids playing around. It has a cockpit that children sit in to control the arms of the mecha, which has a grappling hook and a power drill. It moves by shuffling its feet, which is similar to the Land Walker's movement.
Human Abilities and Features Enhanced By Machines
Machines like the Land Walker demonstrate how technology can be used to enhance human abilities. Also, the technology and use of these Mecha have the idea of one day helping with the military. They can make the robots climb over terrain and obstacles that military tanks cannot do. Moreover, these giant robots have heights greater than humans and can see over humans and look down upon opponents, further aiding the military. However, a disadvantage is that the legs of these robots are very expensive and intricate, so it limits the amount of robots that can be created.
- Murph, Darren. "The Land Walker robot hits the market". Engadget. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Hanlon, Mike. "The Land Walker: the world's first 340cm bipedal exoskeleton". Gizmag. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Singer, P.W. (2009). Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century. Penguin. ISBN 1440685975. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Hornyak, Tim. "Working robot mecha suit is built for kids". CNET. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
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