Saturday, November 26, 2016


I’ll have to concede that, thanks to Michael “Master of Explosions” Bay, the Transformers toy line from Hasbro became widely known again to the world at large after the heyday of its animated cartoons from the 1980s. But come on, who doesn’t dig vehicles that turn into mostly humanoid robots, right? This has become more pronounced ever since Bay unleashed the CGI Transformers with their complex mechanical components shifting and changing as if in real live action. Surely some people have dreamed of replicating that feat in the real world, using existing technology? Wonder of wonders, there have been people who have made the attempt. This article is about a startup that did.

According to CNN, there’s a smart red BMW for auction at the Big Boys Toys Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, with a lucky bidder set to take it home by Saturday when the exhibition closes. The costly part is that bidding starts at $600,000 so it’s far out of reach for a lot of people. Now why would a BMW that was actually built by a little startup firm from Turkey cost that much? Well as the title and intro paragraph pretty much spoils, the flashy car isn’t even a car at all.

Turkish tech firm Letrons has created Antimon, a “sports car” that – honest to goodness – transforms into a bipedal robot. To wit: from its prone car form, the “doors” swing outward but parallel to the body to reveal arms, the body then swivels upward on its rear wheels (now supported by built-in telescoping jacks as “legs”), the front section bends forward to for the “chest” and a robot head slides out from the hood section to complete the 30-second transformation. It’s as awesome as it sounds. 

Letrons at present consists of nothing more than 12 engineers and 4 technicians, but they’ve certainly garnered a lot of attention with their pet project, which they said took the team 11 months to design, test and assemble. Their Antimon is fully capable of moving around in its car form, but it’s not street-legal, and due to its internal moving parts there’s not much of an interior for passengers. The real-world Transformer is drive by remote control and can reach speeds of up to 20 kilometers an hour. While it must stand still in robot form due its pneumatic jack “feet”, Antimon’s head and arms can move via remote; even its fingers are articulated. 

The startup’s sales and marketing director Turgat Alpagot is quite frank as to why Letrons built something like Antimon: "We think if we do something like this it'll get great exposure."The company hopes that Antimon will be the first of a planned series of 12 transforming vehicles, and hopefully some of these future designs will be cheaper and can actually be driven as vehicles. life-transformer- 780x439.jpg

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