A group of Japanese robot enthusiasts have created a 13-foot tall robotic suit that can be piloted by a human and controlled through Microsoft's Kinect technology -- relatively cheap but powerful gesture-based control systems.
Called Suidobashi Heavy Industry, the group built the 4.9 tonne robot using the V-SIDO system for controls, whereas Kinect technology is used in the cockpit. By using this, the human pilot can move their head and turn the robotic suit accordingly.
Named Vaudeville, the robot was recently discovered by the Plastic Pals blog. The control systems can be likened to those found in science fiction movies such as Avatar -- a person can either move the robot through the Kinect-based technology to detect head movements, or it can be controlled through handle bars built within the suit.
The designers are looking to sell Vaudeville once it's complete, and hope to have it fully operational by the end of the year.
We're likely to see more frequent development of these inventions by home-based enthusiasts, just as Kenji Ishida and JS Robotics have built a generic radio-controlled car that shifts, turns and becomes an upright mini fighting-machine likened to the movie Transformers, interest in robotics seems to have surged in recent years.