Chess meets giant (miniature) robots in awesome DIY Action Chess

chess meets giant miniature robots in awesome diy action actionchess

Joe Larson is a man with a dream. A dream of making Chess a bit more akin to one of those old episodes of Transformers where the Constructicons would team up to form the stupid-huge, garishly-colored Devastator. Or, we suppose, like Voltron. Whichever 1980s cartoon reference you prefer, the important thing here is that Joe Larson is also a man who owns a MakerBot Replicator machine.

For those unfamiliar with the device, the Replicator is essentially a consumer-grade 3D printer that scans in design specs and spits out as many copies of the plan in utterly futuristic three-dimensional ABS plastic as your heart desires. It’s marketed as a device that allows users to replicate any household object they may need, but the far more interesting uses for the machine come from inventive, creative types. Inventive, creative types like Joe.

For the most part, Action Chess is a pretty standard Chess set. Both the pieces and board exhibit a kind of utilitarian simplicity that is at once functional and attractive. If you want to play a game of Chess, that’s absolutely an option.

However, if your ideas of entertainment skew toward childhood memories of huge robots stomping on puny humans, Larson’s Action Chess has you covered there too. As an unexpected part of their design, the set’s pieces can be joined together to form a surprisingly cool looking robot that only vaguely belies its origin as a cluster of pawns, rooks and those little horsie guys who can never walk a straight line.

That image you see at top is a mock-up of the set’s design posted by Mr. Larson to MakerBot enthusiast community site Thingiverse. More crucially, it was posted alongside Larson’s original design specs for the set, allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to put together their own Action Chess set. Larson’s own set isn’t quite complete, but that’s actually to our benefit, as he’s been documenting his attempt to print this thing into reality on his blog. Since it’s safe to assume that most of you don’t own a 3D printer, this series of posts is an intensely informative look at what goes into actually creating one’s wildest dreams using such a machine.

These machines are a very solid indicator that we’re moving ever-closer to living in straight up science fiction, and it’s heartening to see that man’s first inclination when faced with amazing new technology is to create cool toys.

Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Emerging Tech

When tech goes wrong: Banksy’s shredder was meant to totally destroy his artwork

Banksy's recent auction stunt was meant to totally destroy one of his most famous pieces of work, but a fault with the shredder has left the buyer with something almost certainly worth far more than the $1 million she bid for it.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.