When I was but a wee nerd, when Star Wars was driving people to buy VCRs the way The Matrix would make them buy DVD players years later, a friend introduced me to the wonders of anime by playing a bootleg VHS tape in which two robots, piloted by people, battled for supremacy in outer space. (Describing an anime film like that is like trying to identify a specific Tom Cruise film by explaining that he plays the cocky young guy, but I digress).
What made this movie stand out for me was how the robot was controlled. The pilot stood in a cokpit in the robots torso. He was attached to the robot by a series of straps that connected directly to the robot through the walls and ceiling. When he moved, the robot moved. Since he was some kind of martial arts super star, his robot was about as fine a defender of the universe as one could hope for, as long as the hero could overcome his psychological issues and fully self-actualize (If you recall the name of this anime, please oh please, comment and let me know what it is).
So, obviously, we still haven’t gotten around to inventing battle bots that can fight our wars for us, but if we did, we’d have a much better system for controlling the robot than silly straps. Read More