Like something straight out of science fiction, a gigantic humanoid robot has recently been unveiled by the South Korean company Hankook Mirae Technology. Dubbed as the Method-2, the current iteration of this larger-than-life bipedal mech suit is a collaborative project between Moldovan designer Vitaly Bulgarov and the mysterious South Korean robotics company.
Large robots piloted by a human isn’t a new concept, at least in popular sci-fi shows and films. They’ve appeared in Japanese animes, such as Gundam , in the form of combat-ready mobile suits; in the video game series Metal Gear as weaponized bipedal tanks with nuclear weaponry, which often appear as the final boss; and more recently, in Western movies like Pacific Rim where the humanoid mechs are used to combat kaiju, or monsters, that emerge from the sea.
Unlike the robots depicted in many of these sci-fi movies and games, Hankook’s 13-foot-tall robot isn’t intended for military use. In the short term, the robot has been envisioned for industrial applications where it can remain tethered to a power source. It’s even said that they plan to release an alternate version of the robot, with only torso and arms on a wheeled foundation, to assist in cleanup at the Fukushima disaster site.
Robotics experts have expressed skepticism towards the authenticity of the entire project, citing a combination of many reasons: Bulgarov’s background with working in Hollywood blockbusters, such as the upcoming Ghost in the Shell movie that takes place in a post-cyberpunk world with a cyborg protagonist; the immaculately clean state of Hankook Mirae’s robotics laboratory, as seen in their newly released photos; the sloppily leaked images and videos, which initially only appeared on Bulgarov’s personal social media; and the mysterious nature of Hankook Mirae Technology, a company that didn’t even have a website or any web presence until just recently are just a few of the eyebrow-raising issues that have been pointed out over the last few weeks.
Bulgarov has insisted these robots are authentic while Hankook Mirae Technology has remained silent, unresponsive to our media inquiry. Whether these robot-powered suits are real or an elaborate hoax remains to be seen. Either way, Bulgarov’s conceptual 3-D sketches are quite impressive to look at.