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'Thundering mechanical behemoth' walker mech to attack Leicester today

Sadly made by an artist, so it's a bit crap

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Vid Our hearts went pitter-pat here on the Register exoskeletons, walkers and mighty roaring machinery desk just now, when we got a press release telling us that all our dreams had come true - or some of them anyway.

It says:

Hydraulic walking machine to thunder through botanic garden

A hydraulic-powered mechanical beast will stomp its way through the University of Leicester’s Botanic Garden [today] ... a self-powered, steel-framed walking machine ... large-scale ... resembles a Caterpillar or JCB construction behemoth - includes a cockpit ... takes inspiration from R G LeTourneau, an American engineer who invented a large number of earthmoving machines.

Some sort of Pacific Rim style mega-robot, we were thinking, or at the very least some kind of outsize version of Ripley's cargo loader exoskeleton from Aliens. We figured the appearance of such a machine would be more or less bound to attract the attention of any enormous dinosaurs, alien invaders, rival robots or similar that might be lurking in the neighbourhood of the Leicester uni botanic gardens, leading doubtless to an epic, horrifically destructive and yet unambiguously newsworthy battle which would be the biggest scoop of our careers.

Sadly it turned out the the supposedly mighty "Tread Toe" is not actually a proper machine, but a work of modern art. As can be seen in this video it is - quite literally - pretty lame, limping along rather than walking. It's really more like a hydraulically powered Zimmer frame than a walker, and its resemblance to the mighty machines of JCB and Caterpillar is basically zero - as we see here in this vid from creator James Capper.

“I build machines that use industrial hydraulics to move," says Capper. "I’m interested in the problem-solving aspect of industrial engineering, which requires a combination of creative and practical thought.

“There is a strong element of inventing, adapting and changing existing techniques and processes to resolve a problem – such as ‘how to make Tread Toe walk’ - and obviously working closely with materials.

“Ultimately, I hope that this combines to create a distinct new language in the realm of mechanical sculpture.”

We're reporting on this in the nature of a public service, in case anyone should be fooled by the press release and head over to the botanic gardens today thinking they might see something cool. It would be a far better plan to go to your nearest Diggerland instead. ®

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