Now it's 2017, it is about time we have giant humanoid robots. Well, enter METHOD-2, a 4-meter-tall (13.1 foot) bipedal, manned “mech” vehicle that looks like it's just stomped its way straight out of a futuristic anime series.
The vehicle’s arms appear to be controlled through the movement of an onboard pilot. As you can see in the videos, it looks like it can walk forward and backwards, although it is tethered to a power source and relies on a chain hoist to keep it upright.
It’s the work of Korean company Hankook Mirae Technology and conceptual designer Vitaly Bulgarov, who has worked as an industrial designer for Panasonic, Intel’s New Devices Group, and Google’s Boston Dynamics (the guys responsible for those weirdly creepy robot dogs). He has also used his expertise in futuristic design to contribute to big-budget movies, including the 2014 remake of RoboCop, Transformers: Age of Extinction, and the new Ghost in the Shell movie.
With all these ties to the visual effects studios of Hollywood, it might seem that his work has more to do with fiction than fact. Live Science pried into Hankook Mirae Technology and questioned whether the work was legitimate or a grand hoax for the viral-video age. Their investigation found the organization has only ever associated with Bulgarov and they couldn't trace any of the engineers working on the project, which is a tad suspicious considering how advanced the vehicle appears to be.
In response to these questions, Bulgarov told Live Science: "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.”
The company also claims it wasn't expecting the social media hype that blew up following the release of videos of the vehicle, hence they hadn't prepared an official unveiling or even a press release. To try and calm some of the cynics, however, Bulgarov has since released a new video (below) showing the mech taking its "first steps".
Hoax or not, it’s fair to say it still looks pretty impressive. Whether we’ll viably be seeing these things trot around construction yards and war zones in the coming few years remains unknown for now, but its designers say they hope to officially unveil METHOD-2 later this year. For the love of god, just don’t give it any weapons.