While the concept of building robotic platforms might be the thought process of evil masterminds, such technology is an exciting prospect. One man appears to have taken his sci-fi childhood inspirations to the next level, however. Hampshire-based Matt Denton has put together an absolutely incredible 2-tonne robot that has been awarded the Guinness World Book of Records award for “Largest Rideable Hexapod Robot” – while we aren’t sure on what competition may exist, it’s still a damn impressive accolade.
An incredible 9ft 2” by 16ft 4”, this incredible beast is easily one of the most enjoyable pieces of mechanical innovation we’ve seen for some time. It was apparently inspired by the famous AT-AT robot of Star Wars fame, especially from the Hoth battle in The Empire Strikes Back. This unique animatronics creation is instantly one of the coolest things we’ve seen, though it does strike a momentary realization that this is perhaps just a touch too similar to Doctor Octopus of Spider-Man fame.
Denton, then, makes the Guinness World Book of Records for 2019, with this incredible robot coming to life after a long-term construction process. Running access on its own HexEngine software, ‘Mantis’ is capable of moving at the comical speed of 0.6mph. That’s not too bad, though: the concept of one of these things being faster than a man is just not worth thinking about at present!
Looking at the Mantis, it’s pretty damn hard not to be wowed by the work that has gone into its creation. The building of it began in 2009, close to a decade ago. With similar machines in the past built by Denton, albeit much smaller, he laid out the groundwork for what would be needed.
Working alongside Jason Lee, who worked on the Harry Potter films they managed to turn one of his old hexapods into a robot turtle …. With six legs.
By gaining the investment needed to get into building his hexapod for use underwater, Denton got to work. A 1.9 tonne version was built, with the aim being to try and get a similar understanding of the problems that would come with the eventual 200-tonne edition that was requested.
This version, Mark II, is just the first improvement after the challenging first Mark. Mentioning that he had “to become an expert in many areas!”, Denton spent much of his time reading up on what he needed to know to eventually make this work as he had intended
A childhood lover of machine creation, Matt said: "When I got to the age of 13, I was always taking them apart and rebuilding the and making Frankenstein toys out of two things, trying to make them faster or better or bigger!"
Working at places like Space Precinct, the TV show, and also at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, Matt was able to make some huge career moves: including being involved in the creation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
This amazing story is just getting started, but we’re sure that we’ll hear a lot more about Matt Henson and the Mantis as the years and decades go by. Keep him in mind though: he could be one of the great minds of his generation!
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