Feb 23, 2017 | By David

One of the best aspects of 3D technology is its potential to inspire people’s imagination, and on an almost daily basis we see new projects that, not so long ago, wouldn’t have been thought possible. So it was only a matter of time before we saw the technology being used to emulate science fiction movies, which is what happened in Russia recently as programmer Alexander Osipovich used 3D printing to build a T-800 cyborg, as featured in The Terminator.

The T-800 is the antagonist of James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi classic, memorably portrayed by Austrian ex-bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger. While that movie was a stark warning about what could happen if we let technology get too powerful, this project represents 3D printing’s potential to make our craziest ideas and fantasies a reality. Or at least that’s what it represents for now, as the T-800 replica has been designed with a worryingly impressive level of artificial intelligence that allows it to respond to verbal commands and learn things. If things do get out of hand, it’s not as if we didn’t see it coming.

Osipovich received the schematics for his project from Google back in 2013, (which may be referred to as ‘Year Zero’ in the future). Google was promoting DIY 3D printing projects, and was able to provide him with a highly detailed design, complete with the exact positioning of the actuators that would power its movements. It took him just over four years to produce and assemble all the parts that were required to create this incredibly accurate replica. The robot’s jaw and eyes are fully functional, moving in sync with sounds emitted by a voice box in a somewhat chilling Russian accent. It is thus able to realistically answer questions that are posed to it, through a combination of vocal recognition software and software that enables online research of key words and phrases.

The T-800’s digital brain was initially a program that Osipovich started work on in college, creating multiple different versions in Visual Basic. Due to a childhood passion for Cameron’s groundbreaking movie, he eventually saw the possibility to create a robot based on the AI program he had created, and wrote extensively to Google requesting information on how it could be set up. Four years and $3,500 later, his model was complete.

Due to limited resources, the T-800 is currently using motors from a remote-controlled toy helicopter to move its head parts, and these are not powerful enough to move the rest of the body. This means that John Henry, as Osipovich has affectionately named his terrifying creation, is currently confined to a wheelchair, so he lacks the unstoppable mobility that was a key feature of Schwarzenegger’s onscreen version. This is only temporary, however, as the programmer hopes to design new software that will allow the individual limbs of the T-800 to be moved in a variety of ways, and to equip it with proper actuators that will enable this movement.

Whatever happens in the future, and however long humanity may or may not have left, it is definitely encouraging to see 3D printing used in such a creative way. As for Osipovich, the ingenuity he has shown here and the still-unfinished state of his project suggests that we may not have seen the last of him. He’ll be back.



Posted in Fun with 3D Printing



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Michael wrote at 1/24/2018 11:18:45 AM:

I too am printing a life size T-800 is there anyway to get this software?

Mike wrote at 2/28/2017 2:45:04 PM:

It's frustrating to not have links to an article that relates to an interactive 'thing'. A video showing it's movement and interaction is warranted here, imo.

I.AM.Magic wrote at 2/24/2017 7:54:08 AM:

T-800 in a wheel chair, that isn't that scary.

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