CNN reported on Monday that Hollywood designer Vitaly Bulgarov is developing a 13-foot "robot-powered suit" called Method-2 in Gunpo, South Korea. Bulgarov's latest project is the live-action Ghost in the Shell film starring Scarlett Johansson. He designed the Lamborghini Lockdown for the Transformers films and a robotic boy suit for the latest Robocop film. However, the visual effects expert insists that the Method-2 is a real-world robot with practical applications.
Bulgarov said, "A modified version of that robotic vehicle is already in development and planned to operate in the Fukushima disaster area." Fukushima was one of the areas in northeastern Japan hit hardest by the earthquake and tsunami disaster in 2011.
The South Korean company Hankook Mirae Technology is designing the robot. Bulgarov told CNN, "Future iterations could find its application in a lot of different areas, from construction and cargo loading to rescue operations." The developers are currently working on modifications to allow the robot to operate on uneven terrain and have space for a "sufficient power source."
Due to Bulgarov's Hollywood background in visual effects, some media sources are questioning whether the robot is actually all that it seems. Some people are casting doubt on how realistic the lab appears in a promotional video. They also found Hankook Mirae Technology's initial lack of a significant online presence suspicious.
Bulgarov claims that a video of the prototype unexpectedly went viral, and the development team planned to unveil Method-2 later in 2017. The developer said that a press release and website updates were planned for after the prototype's completion, and the team was unprepared for this much interest in the robot at this point.
The development process is reportedly continuing at Hankook Mirae Technology. Bulgarov said "As you can see the legs still have no shells covers and feature a 'naked' frame." According to the developer, Method-2 is one year old, and the next version may be ready for publicity later this year.
South Korean robotics team KAIST unveiled a bi-pedal, transforming DRC-Hubo robot at a competition in the United States last year. The robot won the top prize of US$2 million.