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.