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.
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.