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The Land Walker: the world's first 340cm bipedal exoskeleton

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May 2, 2005

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Japanese machinery and robotics manufacturer Sakakibara-Kikai has released the first genuine bi-pedal exoskeleton – a landmark event and one which is certain to attract a lot of attention for the company. Mechanatrons and BattleMechs have long been the subject of scifi books, comics and movies with the promise of cyborg technology popularised by the smash sixties television series “The Six Million Dollar Man.” We’ve previously seen some celebrated exoskeletons in films such as Alien (Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley takes out the Queen alien in an exoskeleton), Star Wars (the AT-ST Imperial Scout Walker) and RoboCop (the ED209), but until now, the nearest thing we’ve seen in the metal was the 3.5 metre superhero exoskeleton Enryu from Tmsuk in Japan. Sakakibara-Kikai’s Land Walker is just a tad shorter than Enryu at 3.4 metres, weighs 1000kg and shuffles along at 1.5kmh. Enryu is a lot faster than Land Walker but uses caterpillar-like tracks rather than legs to perform its chores – the strapping 3.5 metre Enryu will be called upon to rush into burning buildings, lift heavy objects and rescue people.

Sakakibara-Kikai’s Land Walker is just a tad shorter than Enryu at 3.4 metres, weighs 1000kg and shuffles along at 1.5kmh. Enryu is a lot faster than Land Walker but uses caterpillar-like tracks rather than legs to perform its chores – the strapping 3.5 metre Enryu will be called upon to rush into burning buildings, lift heavy objects and rescue people.

Initially the Land Walker will be used at exhibitions and demonstrations. It has a gun mounted on each side but they currently only shoot squishy rubber balls. Given a bit of development funding, a bigger motor and a bit more speed though, the Land Walker would make a wonderful psychological weapon. Imagine seeing a platoon of Land Walkers coming over the hill.

There are two movies showing the 250cc four-stroke-engined Land Walker doing its business shooting and walking.

If you want to be the first on your block with one of these impressive machines, it'll cost you 36 million yen - around US$345,000.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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1 Comment

Psychological weapon? For sure, if they are never deployed!

When the resistance learns how easy it is to ankle-tap, the psychology will be on the (expensive) other foot. Think mujahadeen, \"ankle-tapping\" Hinds! Makes being a psy-captain feel kinda risky..

Ulysses Biscuits
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