We have completed maintenance on DiscoverMagazine.com and action may be required on your account. Learn More

South Korean Mech Takes Its First, Earth-Shaking Steps

By Carl Engelking
Dec 28, 2016 12:00 AMNov 19, 2019 1:44 AM
Yang Jin-Ho demonstrates the Method-2 robot. (Credit: Getty)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

In the popular video game MechWarrior, towering robots called BattleMechs dominate 31st-century battlefields.

Back here in the 21st century, Yang Jin-Ho, CEO of South Korean robotics firm Hankook Mirae Technology, took the first baby steps inside his 13-foot-tall, 1.5-ton, manned bipedal robot called Method-2. According to reports, the thing shakes the ground with every step.

The 31st century doesn’t seem so far away.

Back in 2014, Jin-Ho did what any millionaire sci-fi devotee would do: spend $200 million to build a giant, piloted robot. To pull it all together, Jin-Ho partnered with Hollywood special effects veteran Vitaly Bulgarov, whose cinematic ventures into robotics include TerminatorRobocop and Transformers.

To control the robot, the pilot simply moves their arms and Method-2 mimics the motions with its 286-pound limbs. “Our robot is the world’s first manned bipedal robot and is built to work in extreme hazardous areas where humans cannot go (unprotected),” Jin-Ho told The Telegraph Tuesday.

Method-2, as you can tell, is still a bit clumsy—it’s still tethered power cable—but all the research that went into building it will reap tangential benefits for the company, Jin-Ho said. The team of 30 engineers plans to improve Method-2’s coordination and power systems over the next few years, and Jin-Ho says it could be ready for sale by the end of 2017 — for $8.3 million.

According to The Telegraph, Jin-Ho has already received inquiries about the technology from players in manufacturing and entertainment industries.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2024 Kalmbach Media Co.