Robotic Rickshaws Wander the Streets of Beijing

Wu Yulu may have only a primary school education, but his fascination with robots has inspired him to create 26 automata, a veritable robot army. Rather than leading his robots toward global conquest, Wu has designed them for more socially beneficially uses. His robotic rickshaw Wu No. 25 can pull an individual through the streets of China’s Beijing region for up to six hours on a single charge.

Wu was invited to participate in this year’s Microwave International New Media Arts Festival in Hong Kong. Wu has through his own research and experimentation created over two dozen robots based on his curiosity concerning human movement:

I remember once when I was a teen, I was sitting at the doorway of my home, bored. Then someone walked past. So I wondered about the two legs that we humans have, and I wondered if I could build a machine that walked like a human. I didn’t know about robots, but it was then that I got the idea.

In 1986, Wu built his first robot, Old Wu One, which was 20 cm tall and walked very slowly. But, after two decades of experimenting, Wu has created an impressive array of vehicles and automata, including a spider-legged chaise and a large, man-shaped rickshaw that can easily accommodate a passenger and driver. In the video below, Wu shows off several of his mechanical creations and explains his interest in robotics.


Rural Robots by Wu Yulu from microwavefest on Vimeo.

[via Design Boom]