Thursday, 22 December 2016

This Gesture-Controlled Giant Mech Robot Looks Too Good to Be Real

There’s a very good chance that this giant robo-suit is fake, but you know what? Who gives a shit. It’s really, really cool to watch.

In a “leaked” video posted on Facebook by Vitaly Bulgarov and picked up by major tech news websites, we see a 13-foot-tall robot (named "METHOD-1") with a man in the pilot’s seat, controlling the robot with only his gestures. It’s so damn slick.

Turns out, Bulgarov is a 3D modeler and a concept artist and not some under-the-radar Iron Man or even that scary military general guy from Avatar. He’s worked on Terminator, Robocop, Transformers, and other big-bot-centric blockbusters. Could this be viral marketing for the upcoming sequel to Pacific Rim?

Live Science investigated the robotics company cited for creating the thing, Korea Future Technology, and they found that it’s basically a non-entity online. There’s no trace of them existing anywhere, except when associated with Bulgarov.

Live Science asked Bulgarov about this, and he had a plausible excuse: "If you look at this from a Western point of view, then yeah, that might seem strange, but in that part of the world, the culture is a little different. The company wants to make something first before they advertise themselves.” He swears it’s legit, you guys!

In the video description on his Instagram account, Bulgarov continues to deny that it’s fake: “For those who thought it was fake here is a phone video where I walked too close to it and had to be pulled back lol.” He even hints at other real-world applications for what they’ve learned in making the bipedal bot, perhaps to make it sound more like a convincing R&D hobby-bot: “One of such projects is already in development, but I'm not allowed to say more at this moment.”

Image: Vitaly Bulgarov/Instagram

The truth is, humanoid robots were shitty a year ago and slightly less shitty now. We’ve come a long way in developing robotics technology, but this one’s a stretch, even for an undercover mystery company.

But look, maybe we’re all wrong. The world might be ending soon, and it’s at least nice to daydream about stomping through the smoldering ruins of our once-great cities from inside a giant metal mech suit. Can we just have one nice thing before the year’s out? Even if it is a hoax.

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