Martin Montesano had been captivated since childhood by enormous walking machines like the ones in The Empire Strikes Back. A few real-life versions have been built before, but they never lived up to his vision. He wanted his to be huge.
Working at his Oregon steel-fabricating business, Montesano is now adding features, including an elevator to load passengers. One thing he won’t be doing with it, though, is sneaking up on people. The Beast trudges around at just shy of five miles an hour. And once it gets going, every step it takes shakes the ground 500 feet away.
Time: 3 years
LOCOMOTION Powered by a Chevy V8 engine, the 650-pound axle runs the crankshafts that move the legs.
SUSPENSION For a smoother ride, Montesano designed a leaf-spring system (similar to suspensions in big trucks) to slow the legs just before they hit the ground.
TURNING A hydraulic A-frame takes weight off the legs on one side, acting as a pivot around which the other legs can walk the Beast in a circle or make a turn.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.