Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

February 2020

Artifact of the Month

Cybernetic Walker

The Cybernetic walking machine was one of many experimental projects of the U.S. Army. Its four legs were able to support up to 500 pounds of cargo over extremely difficult terrain, inaccessible to any other surface traveling vehicle. General Electric was commissioned to design the vehicle in 1966, and delivered the walking machine in August 1970. It stood 11 feet tall, and walked at a speed of 5 mph, and was powerful enough to haul a jeep out of a mud hole. It could also climb over large obstacles, balance on its diagonal legs, and push 1000 pounds across a concrete floor.

The operator balanced and coordinated the legs through controls attached to his hands and feet. This coupling between man and machine was so good that the operator could rely on his own sense of balance to accurately and easily maneuver the vehicle. Because it was not very difficult to operate, this became the first successful walking machine capable of random motions. It took approximately five hours of practice for an operator to walk the rig forward and backward, turn around, and balance on two diagonal legs.

In theory, the walking machine should have been a great tool, but it never made it out of the testing phase. It had one major flaw - it used fifty gallons of oil a minute, requiring it to be attached to hydraulic power lines at all times. Army funding for this project was cut and the system was never fielded.