Houses are normally fairly stationary objects, and that's not considered a bad thing. But innovation never stands still, and a new prototype house that can walk on six legs has been built . The house is ten feet high, powered by solar panels, and is outfitted with a kitchen, toilet, bed, and wood stove. Last week, the house, a collaboration between MIT and the Danish design collective N55, took a journey through Cambridgeshire in England as part of an art project at the Wysing Art Center. Designed to move at the muscle speed of a human, the house walked at about five kilometers an hour around the 11-acre campus. (See video)
Samuel Kronick, an MIT student, designed the legs and wrote the software so that the house can move.
"Leg systems require a software algorithm to calculate the position of each articulated element based on the desired location of the foot," says Kronick. "This process is called inverse kinematics (IK). IK algorithms are fairly well-developed for rotary joint systems, like servo-based hexapod walkers, but since we came up with the tetrahedral legs, I had to write my own IK system."
The six legs provide high stability even over unpredictable terrain. And, with high motor function, the house can turn left and right, move forward and back, and even change height as needed. Kronick says the walking house is a first of its kind, although there have been Russian folktales that describe walking houses. N55 says the walking house is meant to be an ecological concept that is not harmful to the environment and inspires nomadic excursions.
Kronick says he would love to test the walking house in Africa with a herd of elephants, and has ideas about an amphibious version that can float on water as well as walk on land.
"We plan to make the house walk well and reliably enough that you could program a set of GPS waypoints via the onboard computer, remotely from an iPhone or over the internet through a Google Maps interface or similar, and have the house follow that path," he says.
Just a few questions:
Where does it get its power to move its legs?
Are there any places where it's supposed to discard the human waste and garbage that has been accumulated after a certain time has passed?
It looks like a trailer but it's different in the sense that it walks, whereas the trailer moves like a car. Maybe it would be better on terrain where trailers normally don't move well... like rocky, or lots of holes in the surfaces...
Makes me think that this could be used for the lunar or Martian surface just have to outfit them with water and air tanks. =)
How is this superior to a motor home?
Think of the application of such a device on the surface of the Moon or on Mars! This is a very cool idea in deed. A movable, portable scientific research station or a base camp for climbing Olympus Mons ( see here: http://www.ootwo.com/mountain.asp ) !!! This is a very neat idea.
It would be helpful for the Space Program. I think that it would need to be smaller to get it to the moon or mars. Don't
I see no point to this invention. Why would anyone want a house that walks, especially around London! Then there's the issue of plumbing,electrics and the idiot that would want to live in tin can! This gets a thumbs down from me even if it is a prototype.
and one more....
Will it rust?
Nice, this reminds me of Hayao Miyazaki's Howls' Moving Castle
can it join with other modules to create a centipede like house?
This is awesome i think it is a sweet idea
awsome. but it would only make sense if--
you would want to move your house.
you had a land lot large enough to move around in.
you had an effeicant way of storing water and waste; and eliminating and/or collecting it.
now, what i want is just know how to accomplish the last.
If you would look at the second to last paragraph [beginning with "The six legs provide..."], near the end is a hyperlink of the words 'the walking house' [they are the blue words in the sentence "N55 says /the walking house/..."]. If you click on that it brings you to a separate page that answers many of the questions that you brought up along with additional pictures to give you better insight.
I found this very inventive and effective, and would, myself, live in one if they ever became widely marketed. My only question: Is there a way to cover the large windows in the bedroom and in the bathroom? That might cause for some privacy concerns.
In what way is the walking speed five kilometers an hour? in that two minute video it should have moved over 150 meters!
Even in their own literature it says that the maximum speed is 60 meters an hour
what if your are in the situation that its a bit icy, and your on a slope? how do you stop.
Could be useful on the moon as for being smaller doesn't have to be it actually can be a little bigger since the next LEM can land about 12T on the lunar surface.
To get a good ideal of the sizes you can use go take a look at a Shuttle mockup or Saturn V.
like what if the house were walking- and it stepped on some1.. OUCH!!!!!!!!!
what if it booted up when you were asleep? would it just walk? that could be cool/bad
i tried hard, but i don't see the point of that house.
and why is this not harmful to the environment?
"Kronick says he would love to test the walking house in Africa with a herd of elephants ... We plan to make the house walk well and reliably enough that you could program a set of GPS waypoints via the onboard computer, remotely from an iPhone ..."
~ oh boy!
i always thought they were way ahead at MIT, not just way out ...
This is a very cool house, but a couple concerns.
1. If only it could move faster.
2. Can it move sideways?
3. How sturdy is the house during storms and bad weather ect. Because you could probably feel it sway on the inside( Which I would very much dislike).
1. How much did it cost to build?
2. How much do they weigh?
!!!!!!!!!!GREAT IDEA THOUGH!!!!!!!!!!
I found this interesting (from the link to the manual) :
"The misunderstanding that persons have a right to own land leads to situations where there is no tolerance for different ways of living and in extreme situations this leads to war."
Leave it to the self-hating Brits ...
That sounds like a very good idea I hope you succeed .I suggest you visit this site,http://www.dragonflytours-japan.com/ it may inspire you