Current Issue
This Month's Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

1 minute read

Humans Could Become Hulking Racing Machines Inside These Giant Exoskeletons

The Prosthesis is a design for a two-story-tall "anti-robot" that is controlled by a person's movements inside. And then you race other giant robots. Is this the future of sport?

  • <p>At first glance, the Prosthesis looks like a nightmare from the future.</p>
  • <p>In renderings for this two-story-high, 3.75-ton "anti-robot," you see a monster machine stomping through everything in its path.</p>
  • <p>Prosthesis is controlled by a person strapped inside a exoskeleton.</p>
  • <p>The pilot moves an arm, and the arm of the machine moves with it--until you are both running along.</p>
  • <p>Tippett calls it an "anti-robot" because the driver is always in control.</p>
  • <p>So far, the team has built a cutdown-sized version of the beast's Alpha Leg, a 2:3 scale prototype.</p>
  • <p>The prototype has allowed them to develop and refine the lithium-ion power plant, hydraulics, control systems and human control interface technologies.</p>
  • <p>Pilots have already been training to operate Prosthesis using the Alpha Leg.</p>
  • <p>Eventually, they hope to organize a whole racing circuit, where man-robots can compete against one another.</p>
  • <p>It already sounds better than Formula One.</p>
  • <p>"It can't walk or balance or do anything by itself. It's completely human-controlled. The whole point of building this machine is to create a new experience for the user, or the athlete inside."</p>
  • <p>"The machine is built for humans, by humans."</p>
  • <p>Keep scrolling for more images.</p>
  • <p>Keep scrolling for more images.</p>
  • <p>Keep scrolling for more images.</p>
  • <p>Keep scrolling for more images.</p>
  • <p>Keep scrolling for more images.</p>
  • 01 /18

    At first glance, the Prosthesis looks like a nightmare from the future.

  • 02 /18

    In renderings for this two-story-high, 3.75-ton "anti-robot," you see a monster machine stomping through everything in its path.

  • 03 /18

    Prosthesis is controlled by a person strapped inside a exoskeleton.

  • 04 /18

    The pilot moves an arm, and the arm of the machine moves with it--until you are both running along.

  • 05 /18

    Tippett calls it an "anti-robot" because the driver is always in control.

  • 06 /18

    So far, the team has built a cutdown-sized version of the beast's Alpha Leg, a 2:3 scale prototype.

  • 07 /18

    The prototype has allowed them to develop and refine the lithium-ion power plant, hydraulics, control systems and human control interface technologies.

  • 08 /18

    Pilots have already been training to operate Prosthesis using the Alpha Leg.

  • 09 /18

    Eventually, they hope to organize a whole racing circuit, where man-robots can compete against one another.

  • 10 /18

    It already sounds better than Formula One.

  • 11 /18

    "It can't walk or balance or do anything by itself. It's completely human-controlled. The whole point of building this machine is to create a new experience for the user, or the athlete inside."

  • 12 /18

    "The machine is built for humans, by humans."

  • 13 /18

    Keep scrolling for more images.

  • 14 /18

    Keep scrolling for more images.

  • 15 /18

    Keep scrolling for more images.

  • 16 /18

    Keep scrolling for more images.

  • 17 /18

    Keep scrolling for more images.

  • 18 /18

At first glance, the Prosthesis looks like a nightmare from the future. In renderings for this two-story-high, 3.75-ton "anti-robot," you see a monster machine stomping through everything in its path.

But its inventor insists the Prosthesis is made for good. Jonathan Tippett, a Vancouver artist and engineer, says he's building an alternative racing machine—a rival to Formula One—that more closely aligns man and technology. Prosthesis is controlled by a person strapped inside a exoskeleton. The pilot moves an arm, and the arm of the machine moves with it—until a person is running along with a giant hunk of metal.

Tippett calls it an "anti-robot" because the Prosthesis isn't autonomous: The driver is always in control. "It can't walk or balance or do anything by itself," he says. "It's completely human-controlled. The whole point of building this machine is to create a new experience for the user, or the athlete, inside. The machine is built for humans, by humans."

Tippett works with a volunteer team at eatART, a studio space in Vancouver. So far, they've built a cutdown-sized version of the beast's Alpha Leg, a downsized prototype leg. Now, they're looking for $100,000 to complete the whole snorting thing. See their crowd-funding pitch here.

"We've built a 2:3 scale prototype leg called the Alpha Leg which has allowed us to develop and refine the lithium-ion power plant, hydraulics, control systems, and human control interface technologies," Tippett says.

Pilots have already been training to operate Prosthesis using the Alpha Leg. Eventually, he hopes to organize a whole racing circuit, where man-robots can compete against one another. It already sounds better than Formula One.