US$1,515 will let you drive the beastly Prosthesis mech suit
Remember the giant, human-controlled Prosthesis mech suit? We first saw the design back in 2014. It's a 4,000-kg (8,820-lb), 4-meter-tall (13-ft), chromoly steel-framed monster that uses some 170 kW (225 hp) worth of electric motors, hydraulics, springs and suspension units to move its four giant legs individually in response to the movements of a pilot's limbs.
If you get good enough at driving it, the Prosthesis can rumble along at up to 30 km/h (18.6 mph), or lift up and destroy small cars with its beefy metal tusks. It can rear back on its hind legs and pound the ground like a giant sumo wrestler. And yes, it can fall clean over too, because there's no self stabilization, gyroscopes or ECU control going on. Your balance is the mech's balance.
Indeed, the suit is designed to act purely as an extension of the wearer's body. Within its range of motion, its outer legs do what your arms do, its inner legs do what your legs do. Thanks to a feedback loop, if it encounters an obstacle that stops one of its limbs from moving, you feel it in a tactile sense, because you simply can't move your limb any further.
The Prosthesis team's eventual goal is to get some sort of race event happening, where pilots could guide these things through obstacle courses in head-to-head competition. But in order to do that, they need two things: money, and pilots.
So parent company Furrion Exobionics has opened up a Kickstarter campaign in which aspiring exosuit pilots can fork over an earlybird pledge of CA$2,000 (US$1,515) for a chance to come out to Vancouver and do a training session in the big mech itself (usual crowdfunding caveats apply).
This will occur at the team's "Mech Ranch" in British Columbia, over the course of a day, although it appears there may be several others there with you on the day and seat time may be limited. Still, each pilot will be taken through a series of drills and exercises to familiarize them with the control scheme and give them a feel for the giant robot, and if you feel like crushing something less than a meter (3.3 ft) cubed in size, you can bring it along and mech-stomp it to bits.
It's a remarkable, if cumbersome-looking machine. Piloting it will be a heck of an opportunity and the selfies will be forever. Check out a video below.
Source: Prosthesis Mech Racing