At Innovation News Daily, science journalist Jeremy Hsu explores what it would take to make Mike Koehler's AT-AT For America dream a reality.
Making a modern-day robotic walker is not impossible, said Heiko Hoffman, a robotics expert at HRL Laboratories in Malibu, Calif., but it easily could cost $100 million or more.
"[The cost] would likely be much higher for a seriously armored vehicle," Hoffman said of the cost. "If we just build an AT-AT that looks cool, it could be much cheaper."
The AT-AT walker lumbers along like a mechanical elephant, lifting just one foot at a time. That "statically stable" walking style works for a heavy vehicle, because the center of mass always sits above a "triangle" created by keeping three feet on the ground, Hoffman said.
But building a huge 50-foot-tall walker is challenging because structural strength does not increase on par with sheer mass, Hoffman explained. A vehicle 10 times the size of a smaller model might have a supporting beam 10 times larger, but it would have to support a mass 1,000 times greater.
The AT-AT walker also must deal with huge stress on its leg joints, which makes running virtually impossible.
Innovation News Daily: Could America Really Build a "Star Wars" AT-AT Walker?
Spanish film director and cinematographer Segundo Chomón (1871-1929) was a pioneer of movie special effects, camera tricks, and optical illusions at the intersection of technology, art, and magic. See more of his surreal work at the Internet Archive’s “Segundo de Chomón Collection.”
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