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Racing Robots

Human-piloted racing robots could be the next big sport to break out


WASHINGTON (Circa) -- NASCAR and Formula One are two of the most popular racing sports competitions currently in existence. But a new racing competition may soon surface involving human controlled robots.

Furrion Exo-Bionics, a Canadian startup, has created a new robot that uses humans as pilots. The product is known as Prosthesis and it knows how to navigate various obstacles and can even do pushups.

The machines weigh eight and a half thousand pounds and can even stand up in half a second. The machine has a theoretical top speed of 30 kilometers per hour which calculates to 18 miles per hour. But the startup hasn't been able to get the machines to attain this on a consistent basis yet.

"It's kind of an extension of other kinds of sports that we're familiar with...we'll never compete with wheeled machines for speed," Jonathan Tippett, co-founder of Furrion Exo-Bionics said. "But there's things that mechs can do that wheeled machines can't do, like climb, and push, and lift things and step over troughs, or trenches, or barriers, or obstacles."

Daily Mail reports the robots made their debut during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year. The creators hope their "X1 Mech Racing League" will allow robots to compete head-to-head against each other.

"It acts as kind of a suit, more than even a robot," exhibitor Kristin Howard told Daily Mail in January at the CES Show. "It’s very silent - When it walks, you don’t really hear it."

The robot is reportedly 13 feet tall and 16 feet wide, according to The Daily Mail.

Creators hope this machine becomes a more valuable entity than just a racing product.

"The other thing humans are interested in doing is sort of giving ourselves superpowers. And this is what Prosthesis is, it's an extension of a person to give them more power. So, it isn't just the racing, it's kind of redefining what it means to be human," said Dale Dougherty, Founder and CEO of Maker Faire.

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