These days, you don't have to be a whiz kid to build robots in your basement: off-the-shelf microcontrollers, Arduino boards and Lego Mindstorms can take care of the hard work. Adam Halverson, however, is the real deal -- he built his first robot at the age of twelve, and after six years of failed attempts, he's crafted a full-size humanoid that can walk. Filed with pistons, servos and an assimilated laptop, the VSR-2:Talos FG cost the South Dakota high school senior $10,000 to build with fellow student Anthony Winterton; he claims he could reconstruct it for half now that he's done. The hulking metal machine won him an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, where he's competing for up to $75,000 in prize money. We'll be watching to see if he recoups his investment -- awards will be announced this afternoon. See how the Talos FG's gears mesh in our gallery, or watch the bot take its first steps after the break.

Update: The awards are in, and though Talos FG's grippers didn't manage to pull down that $75,000 grand prize, they did manage to net Halverson $5,500 in cash and savings bonds from Intel, the Cade Museum Foundation and the U.S. Army.

VSR-2: Talos FG at Intel ISEF 2010

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High school senior builds walking robot, the VSR-2: Talos FG (video)