Furrion Robotics’ 8,000-pound Prosthesis mech takes a big step toward the future

Many a child grows up dreaming of the day when they can pilot a giant robot (or mech, to be precise), only to discover that, like flying cars and blaster pistols, such a thing remains in the realm of science fiction. Naysayers will claim giant mechs aren’t feasible, but that pessimism hasn’t dampened the dreams of inventors who hope to one day make a colossal, walking suit of armor capable of defending the Earth against alien invasions — or even more mundane tasks. Furrion Robotics is going full-steam ahead with research into mechs. Its Prosthesis mech was one of the coolest things at CES 2017, and although the first test run was brief, to say the least, it’s still an exciting project.

Furrion co-founders Matt and Aaron Fidler stopped by Digital Trends’ CES 2018 booth to talk about their creation. Last time Digital Trends checked in with the Prosthesis, it could only tremble. New footage from Furrion now shows the mech taking full steps across a desert landscape. That’s good progress, especially since the Fidlers intend the mech for use not in war, but in racing.

“Once we’re happy with the level we’re at with the technology and the human training … the next step is to build a second mech or a third mech, and then within two years, hopefully, we launch the first X1 mech racing league,” the Fidlers said.

The idea for Prosthesis originated with inventor Jonathan Tippett, whom the Fidlers teamed up with to bring the concept to life. It stands 15 feet tall, and weighs aboau 8,000 pounds. Given its mass, it should come as no surprise that it doesn’t move too quickly, topping out at around 20 mph. That doesn’t mean Prosthesis is easy to pilot, however. The mech eschews computers, relying on the human pilot to move the limbs; as such, pilots will need to be athletic to keep the mech moving.

Prosthesis gets about 90 minutes of power from its batteries, depending on the terrain, and so the Fidlers envision “long-haul, A to B races, where you have energy stops along the way, almost like a pit stop in a Formula 1 racing league.”

Prosthesis is still very much a prototype, but its development so far is remarkable. Mechs may seem a pipe dream, but every so often, a dream comes true.

Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
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.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

Best new shows and movies to stream: Cold War, Shoplifters, and more

Need something to watch this weekend? Check out our list of the best new shows and movies to stream right now. On the list this week: Cold War follows a tragic romance, The Inventor examines a famous fraud case, and more.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover giant chimneys spewing energy from the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have discovered two exhaust channels which are funneling matter and energy away from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy and out towards the edges of the galaxy, dubbed galactic center chimneys.
Emerging Tech

A milestone in the history of particle physics: Why does matter exist?

If matter and antimatter were both produced in equal amounts by the Big Bang, why is there so much matter around us and so little antimatter? A new experiment from CERN may hold the answer to this decades-long puzzle.
Emerging Tech

Dublin Airport has a novel idea for tackling rogue drones

There are a growing number of technology-based solutions for dealing with rogue drones flying near airports, but officials at Dublin Airport have come up with another idea for keeping the skies safe.
Emerging Tech

This sleek new exoskeleton makes walking easier, fits under your clothes

A new ankle exoskeleton that is designed to be worn under clothes can help people to walk without fatiguing — and without restricting natural motion or drawing attention to itself.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s latest breakthrough could make DNA-based data centers possible

Could tomorrow's data centers possibly store information in the form of synthetic DNA? Researchers from Microsoft have successfully encoded the word "hello" into DNA and then back again.
Emerging Tech

Here are the best (and least likely to explode) hoverboards you can buy

With widespread reports of cheap, knock-off Chinese hoverboards exploding, these self-balancing scooters may be getting a rough reputation. They're not all bad, though. Ride in style with our picks for the best -- and safest -- hoverboards
Emerging Tech

Google’s Street View is mapping Earth’s most Mars-like terrain

Devon Island is a remote location in Canada's Arctic that's said to be the most Mars-like place on Earth. Street View recently visited the island to map the terrain and meet some of the scientists working there.