Skip to main content

This guy built a walking chariot that’s powered by a 20-volt cordless drill

The DIY community definitely has no shortage of weird and wacky personal transportation devices, and this one from Izzy Swan of Think Woodworks is one of the best we’ve seen in months. Over the years, Swan has made a name for himself in the maker community with creations such as drill-powered lawnmowers and mini-bikes — but this new one is a little bit different.

Inspired by Theo Jansen’s wind-powered kinetic sculpture, the Strandbeest, Swan’s latest creation is a strange walking chariot that pushes the rider around with a pair of mechanical legs. And of course, this one is also powered by a cordless drill.

So how, exactly, do you build a drill-powered riding machine? Well, after developing a suitable set of wooden legs (modeled after those on the Strandbeest) Swan attached them to a worm drive shaft, an axle, and gear box. The entire drive assembly is held together with screws traditionally meant for woodworking, but even so, Swan says they’re working out just fine for his purposes.

Over the past few weeks, Swan has been putting the finishing touches on different parts of the walking machine, and recently took to social media (as he does with all of his creations) to share step-by-step updates with his fans and followers. He’s worked feverishly to create the walker, which he says “takes the cake” in his YouTube video.

While his finished product is capable of carrying loads up to 370 pounds, in his video, Swan isn’t exactly speeding away on this thing — although he does allude to the fact that lighter people would pick up better speed on the machine.

And the best part? Swan was kind enough to provide links to every part used in this build — so anyone with a few tools and some basic woodworking skills could potentially make one of these crazy contraptions. Weekend project = found.

Nicolette Emmino
Nicolette is a technology writer, but wishes the days of paperback books and print newspapers were still thriving. She’s a…
Why AI will never rule the world
image depicting AI, with neurons branching out from humanoid head

Call it the Skynet hypothesis, Artificial General Intelligence, or the advent of the Singularity -- for years, AI experts and non-experts alike have fretted (and, for a small group, celebrated) the idea that artificial intelligence may one day become smarter than humans.

According to the theory, advances in AI -- specifically of the machine learning type that's able to take on new information and rewrite its code accordingly -- will eventually catch up with the wetware of the biological brain. In this interpretation of events, every AI advance from Jeopardy-winning IBM machines to the massive AI language model GPT-3 is taking humanity one step closer to an existential threat. We're literally building our soon-to-be-sentient successors.

Read more
The best hurricane trackers for Android and iOS in 2022
Truck caught in gale force winds.

Hurricane season strikes fear into the hearts of those who live in its direct path, as well as distanced loved ones who worry for their safety. If you've ever sat up all night in a state of panic for a family member caught home alone in the middle of a destructive storm, dependent only on intermittent live TV reports for updates, a hurricane tracker app is a must-have tool. There are plenty of hurricane trackers that can help you prepare for these perilous events, monitor their progress while underway, and assist in recovery. We've gathered the best apps for following storms, predicting storm paths, and delivering on-the-ground advice for shelter and emergency services. Most are free to download and are ad-supported. Premium versions remove ads and add additional features.

You may lose power during a storm, so consider purchasing a portable power source,  just in case. We have a few handy suggestions for some of the best portable generators and power stations available. 

Read more
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more