There isn't a lot in robotics that doesn't get us excited, let alone this hugely ambitious build by a team of Massachusetts roboticists. Nicknamed 'Stompy', it's an 18-foot wide, 4,000 pound (1800kg), six-legged hydraulic robot that you can ride. Told you it was exciting.
What's best is that you can get a ride on its back. Currently being crowd-funded through our favourite site at the moment, Kickstarter, the Project Hexapod team is looking to reach a goal of $65,000 before September 2nd, of which they're already well on the way. Okay, so you'll need to pledge at least $300 to have the chance to actually climb atop Stompy, but like any great Kickstarter, the donation rewards don't end there.
For a pledge of $5, the team promise to (and you'll have to take their word for this) scale the White Mountains and shout your name from the top; a pledge of $100 will get you a signed photo of the team standing in front of a completed Stompy; and for $200 or more you can partake in the 'Will It Blend?'-inspired 'Will It Stomp?' and send in an inanimate object of your choosing to be at the behest of Stompy's unbridled mechanical power.
Excuse the geeking out for a moment, because Project Hexapod's creation could actually serve a real purpose beyond giving us all nerdgasms. With six force-sensitive legs, a ground clearance of 6 feet and the ability to carry around 1,000lb at speeds of 2-3mph and a massive 4,000lb at 1mph, Stompy could prove invaluable during rescue operations or in serving the military.
The $65,000 goal itself will almost entirely go towards covering the cost of manufacturing the robot, with each of the six legs reportedly costing around $6,000 and the main chassis an extra $29,000. However, the team has also taken into account breaking the funding barrier, with further goals leading up to $300,000 providing everything from upgrades to Stompy; to the initial investment to create a company dedicated to developing open-source, high-end robotic technology; to starting a fund for the team's future projects.
Estimated by the team to take around 8 months to build and due to start construction as soon as the four-week Kickstarter crowd-funding project is over, we can't wait to see where this is going.
Contribute to Project Hexapod's Kickstarter here.