I can’t tell you how many movies I’ve seen where some genius kid or eccentric tinkerer or intelligent alien assembles really cool technology using common household electronics. Remember E.T. building that interstellar communicator out of an umbrella and a record player? I even saw a movie once where a kid built a zombie-killing weapon out of a laser disc player.
In real life, you don’t see too many folks building cool tech out of old junk. But don’t tell that to self-taught robot maker and former Baltimore police officer Mark Haygood, who has assembled his own humanoid robot (HEX) using outdoor speakers for the legs, fans for shoulders, children’s toys for a torso, and a clock radio for the head. A pair of power tools and some custom 3D printed parts (using the InMoov open source design) formed the hands. HEX also has a DVD player for a waist and two chicken fryers (honestly) for feet, bringing to mind one of my young son’s favorite books.
Haygood can control the robot using a Zigbee dongle and his laptop. According to an interview with CNN, he says the hands and legs are functional, although HEX’s gait isn’t very stable. He plans to launc a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to improve the ‘bot and better document the design, and he’s been visiting with the robotics club at Baltimore’s Dunbar High School.
You can see some footage of HEX in action (slightly disguised) in this mock movie trailer: