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

This fully autonomous $400 drone folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Virtual Reality

Think virtual reality is just for games? These awesome apps will change your mind

Virtual reality isn't all about gaming. Swim with turtles, paint in 3D, and immerse yourself in some unique experiences the platform has to offer with our curated list of the best VR apps.
Gaming

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.
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.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Dracula’

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, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.
Smart Home

This alarm clock uses targeted light and sound to wake you, but not your partner

The Wake v2 isn't like your typical bedside alarm. Instead, it wakes you by shining a soft light directly into your face, thereby not disturbing the person sharing a bed with you. Pretty smart, huh?
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.
Emerging Tech

Intel’s new ‘neural network on a stick’ aims to unchain A.I. from the internet

To kick off its first developer conference in Beijing, Intel unveiled the second generation of its Neural Compute Stick -- a device that promises to democratize the development of computer vision A.I. applications.
Emerging Tech

Frogs regrow ‘paddle-like’ limbs when placed in a bioreactor

Frogs have partially regrown amputated limbs thanks to a bioreactor at Tufts University. By jump-starting tissue repair, the bioreactor helped the amphibians regenerate a bigger, more complete appendages than they usually do.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation claims that it has developed a quantum radar that's able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Glass orb packs all the constellations in the night sky into fancy desk ornament

Ever wanted to know more about the star constellations? A stunning new Kickstarter campaign, taking the form of a fancy desk ornament that re-creates the night sky in a glass orb, aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Stronger than steel, thinner than paper, graphene could be the future of tech

Since its discovery, graphene has set the research world on fire. What exactly is it, though, and what could it mean for the future of tech? Here's everything you need to know about what could be the next supermaterial to take center stage.