Robotics

Zollner builds world's largest four-legged robot ... and it's a dragon

Zollner builds world's largest...
Tradinno is the star of Germany's oldest folk play
Tradinno is the star of Germany's oldest folk play
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Tradinno's wings spread to 12 m (39 ft)
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Tradinno's wings spread to 12 m (39 ft)
Tradinno with its cladding still being assembled
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Tradinno with its cladding still being assembled
Tradinno has its own diesel-powered transport
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Tradinno has its own diesel-powered transport
Tradinno is the star of Germany's oldest folk play
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Tradinno is the star of Germany's oldest folk play
Engineering diagram of one of Tradinno's components
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Engineering diagram of one of Tradinno's components
Tradinno's steel skeleton bing put through its paces
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Tradinno's steel skeleton bing put through its paces
Tradinno weighs 11 tons
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Tradinno weighs 11 tons
Tradinno is controlled by four radio remotes
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Tradinno is controlled by four radio remotes
Tradinno's main skeleton with one of its legs
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Tradinno's main skeleton with one of its legs
One of Tradinno's legs
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One of Tradinno's legs
Diagram of Tradinno and its transport
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Diagram of Tradinno and its transport
of course, Tradinno breathes fire
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of course, Tradinno breathes fire
Tradinno under assembly
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Tradinno under assembly
Detail of Tradinno's mechanism
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Detail of Tradinno's mechanism
Unveiling the first model of Tradinno
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Unveiling the first model of Tradinno
Tradinno's main chassis and transporter
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Tradinno's main chassis and transporter
Tradinno without its cladding
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Tradinno without its cladding
Tradinno going for a walk
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Tradinno going for a walk
Tradinno is deisel powered
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Tradinno is deisel powered
Tradinno undergoing testing
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Tradinno undergoing testing
Tradinno can walk at 1.8 km/h (1.1 mph)
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Tradinno can walk at 1.8 km/h (1.1 mph)

St. George is famous for slaying a dragon, but he’d have a real challenge on his hands if he showed up today in Furth im Wald, Germany. There he’d discover the streets of this town of 9,000 being stalked by an 11-ton fire-breathing dragon with a steel skeleton and a diesel engine for a heart. Built by Zollner Elektronik AG, the robotic monster is the star of Germany’s oldest folk play and, according to the 2014 edition of the Guinness World Records book, the world's largest four-legged walking robot.

The Drachenstich play, which translates as “Spearing the dragon,” has been performed in the town of Furth im Wald for the past 500 years. Set in the year 143, it relates the tale of a bloody war in which an army of knights launch a crusade against the Bohemian rebellion. All the killing and evil awakens a dragon, who lays waste to the countryside until a young lady and a knight defeat it.

If you’re going to create a play about a dragon, you naturally need a dragon. When it came time to reinvent the five-centuries old play, the producers decided to build a full-scale walking robot.

Tradinno can walk at 1.8 km/h (1.1 mph)
Tradinno can walk at 1.8 km/h (1.1 mph)

The result is Tradinno, a portmanteau name made out of tradition and innovation. It was begun by Zollner in 2007 and, unlike many stage dragons, isn’t a piece of puppetry. It’s a self-contained, self-powered four-legged walking robot 15.5 m long, 3.8 m wide and 4.5 m high (50 x 12.4 14.7 ft) that clocks in at 11 tons (24,000 lb).

When it spreads its wings, they come out to a span of 12 m. Its steel chassis is covered in polyurethane and fiberglass through which run “veins” carrying 80 l of stage purplish stage blood. And, of course, there’s 11 kg of natural gas for spewing fire.

A two-liter, 107 bhp (80 kW) turbo diesel engine supplies power to a hydraulic system comprised of 272 hydraulic valves and 65 animated axles. There's also 238 sensors for measuring length, rotation, and force; 1,300 m of electrical cables, and hundreds of meters of hydraulic and pneumatic lines.

Tradinno's wings spread to 12 m (39 ft)
Tradinno's wings spread to 12 m (39 ft)

All this adds up to a hugely impressive moving mechanical beast. Controlled by four radio remotes backed by complex processors, Tradinno has seven degrees of freedom in each leg and can walk at a speed of 1.8 km/h (1.1 mph) as well as go around corners and crab sideways. It can also wave its head with an suitable menacing air and snap its jaws at impudent knights. Since the Drachenstich is performed outdoors, Tradinno is suitable weatherproofed.

Being a star, Tradinno doesn't have to walk to and from the performance space. Instead, Zollner has also built a 4.3-ton transporter for driving it about. This is also radio controlled with all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and a 2-liter, 4-cylinder turbo diesel putting out 138 bhp (103 kW). At the end of a hard evening, Tradinno can simply crouch on the transport, where four docking couplers will latch on to its torso before the transport whisks it away at a brisk 6 km/h (3.7 mph).

The video below shows the Tradinno dragon going through its paces.

Source: Zollner

Größter vierbeiniger Schreitroboter der Welt - World's Largest Walking Robot Dragon

4 comments
limbodog
Ah, so a slightly bigger version of the ones used in the How to Train Your Dragon live show. Those were pretty damn cool.
BigGoofyGuy
I think that is way cool. It is a big step up from the one show that had life size dinosaurs.
Paul Anthony
Can they make a toy sized version to play with?
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
Burning Man-meet your match!