Transformers All Around Us!

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Michael Bay’s action-packed summer blockbuster, is full of good robots, bad robots and transforming robots. In fact, practically the only thing these “robots in disguise” do besides battle is shape-shift into seemingly innocuous vehicles. My how looks can be deceiving. While earth scientists have yet to match the technological feats of their Cybertronic colleagues, real-world transformers are certainly more than meets the eye.

Gibbs Aquada

Gibbs Aquada

Since the dawn of the automobile, aquatic cars have been an area of fixation, and while their usage currently varies from military to tour guides, perhaps the most fascinating one to date is the Gibbs Aquada. Capable of breaking 100mph on land and 30mph in the water, this innovative amphibian was notably driven across the English Channel by Sir Richard Branson in just over 100 minutes in 2004. Originally priced around $270,000 in the UK, the investors hope to launch the Aquada in the US by late 2009-early 2010 for a much more manageable $85,000. Now if only it had lasers…

Terrafugia Transition

Terrafugia

Terrufugia (Latin for “escape from land”) was founded in 2006 with the goal of creating a “roadable aircraft.” A mere three years later, on March 5th, 2009, the Transition took its maiden voyage off the ground. Fueled by standard unleaded gasoline, the Transition can reach road speeds around 65mph and up to 115mph in the air. Measuring 19ft long and just less than 7ft tall, the Transition’s 13ft wings fold tightly to the vehicle’s sides when on land allowing it to fit into a standard garage. Due out in 2011, a mere $194,000 may just allow you to escape a robot invasion.

Mecha

mecha

Part science fiction, part junk-yard innovation, army mechanic Carlos Owens’ Mecha is certainly the most suitable robot on this list to take on the Decepticons. Owens began work on the prototype in 2004, and presently the steel monster stands 18ft tall and is powered by an 18-horsepower engine and 27 hydraulic pumps. To operate the Mecha, Owens gets in the driver’s compartment and manipulates controls which cause the machine to mimic human movement. Although future models may be used in the military or construction, Owens envisions them as engaging in Mecha vs Mecha battles for entertainment. Fighting robots, sounds kind of familiar…

The Real Transformer

While this addition to the list in small, the technology it encompasses is perhaps the closest to the Transformers on the big screen. Able to seamlessly flow from wheels to walking, the only thing that keeps us safe today is the diminutive size, but that’s sure to change at some point…

Project Transformers

Project Transformers

French-Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond believes if you can’t beat giant, killer robots, you might as well join ‘em. Before you join em’ though, you might as well try to scare ‘em away. By choreographing a variety of vehicles, Reymond was able to create giant arrangements that, when viewed from the sky, look like Transformers.  Who knows how many space wandering robots this deterred from invading our airspace.

Have you discovered any cool, real-world transformers we somehow missed? If so, please feel free to share in the comments.

 

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