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A mech for modern times: Method-1 is your sci-fi fantasy come to life

"METHOD-1" manned robot project by "Korea Future Technology" (주)한국미래기술 & Vitaly Bulgarov - 1
Somewhere in South Korea, the kind of robotics company Michael Bay might invest in is building a towering mech robot straight out of the world of Gundam — and they’ve hired a former movie and game concept artist, known for working on StarCraft II and Transformers: Age of Extinction, to help them.

Built by Korea Future Technology and named Method-1, the giant robot houses a human pilot who in videos is shown apparently controlling it by using arm gestures.

It’s pretty awesome stuff and demonstrates an impressive amount of robot dexterity — from the movement of its individual figures to the ability to shift its weight as it walks.

“It’s an amazing team of engineers and designers who are working to bring this to life,” concept artist Vitaly Bulgarov told Digital Trends. “It’s a real challenge; no one has done something like this before. That’s the main reason we wanted to do it. Why do people climb Everest? Because it’s there. This is a first proof-of-concept robot to show that we as a team can do something like this.”

In recent years, Bulgarov has had a joint career working in both the entertainment industry and the robotics field — with companies including Intel and Boston Dynamics. This work, however, certainly seems to owe more of a debt of gratitude to his science fiction work, although he notes that it is still firmly rooted in reality.

"METHOD-1" manned robot project by "Korea Future Technology" (주)한국미래기술 & Vitaly Bulgarov - 2

“To make a robot for a specific application, you need to have a very specific task in mind that you need to solve,” he continued. “This is kind of a broad platform attempt to answer a number of different questions. For example, can it walk? Can you use a human-machine interface to operate tools? We want to see where we’re at right now, in terms of what’s possible.”

Where things go from here remains to be seen. Whatever becomes of Method-1, however, it’s certainly captured our imaginations. And with Bulgarov telling us that more information will be forthcoming in the new year, it’s just another reason we want 2017 to hurry up and get here already!

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