Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos piloted a giant robot at a secret conference on Monday, excitedly describing the experience later as ‘awesome’.
The billionaire is now among a handful of people to have tested the Method-2, a 13ft robot since it was unveiled in Gunpo, South Korea, last year.
It bears all the hallmarks of the robot used in the 2009 film Avatar and cost more than $200million to make.
Overcome with excitement as he got to grips with the gadget on Monday, Bezos joked that he felt like Sigourney Weaver in the 1986 film Aliens.
It was part of the MARS conference, an event sponsored by Amazon to showcase and celebrate digital and technological intelligence.
The Method-2 was unveiled in Gunpo, South Korea, in December. It was created by Hankook Mirae Technology
Measuring 13ft in height and weighing 1.6 tonnes, it is the first robot which allows humans to control its movement from inside it with their own bodies.
Bezos showed off its arm function on Monday but stopped short of taking it for a walk.
The glass control pit appeared to be supported by some chains and the robot’s legs remained planted on the stage at all times.
Each of the robot’s arms weigh a staggering 286lbs. Hankook Mirae Technology chairman Yang Jin-Ho said he had invested more than $200million in the product to ‘bring to life what only seemed possible in movies and cartoons’.
One of the designers who helped bring it to life is Vitaly Bulgarov who has worked on films including Transformers, Robocop and Terminator.
While Bulgarov did not work on Avatar, he admitted last year to the similarities between his creation and the fictional robot used in the film.
‘As we kept iterating, it started to remind me of the robot suit in Avatar. That wasn’t intentional, I guess the praise goes back to James Cameron’s vision, his design team had a great understanding of functionality, so the we ended up with the same overall proportions,’ he told New Atlas.
It’s not yet clear what the robot’s intended use but they will be ready for sale at the end of this year.
The Machine Learning Automation, Robotics and Space Exploration conference (MARS) is a private event which is sponsored by Amazon and kept secret in advance.
It showcases new innovations in the world of artificial intelligence.
Other devices shown off this year included Agility’s Cassie, a robotic ‘Ostrich’ designed to make deliveries.
The first was held last year in Palm Springs, California, where guests watched Bezos drink whiskey as he mingled with staff.
It falls in line with the company’s keen interest in both artificial intelligence and staff perks.
Since last year, Amazon has announced its new drone delivery service and rolled out 45,000 Kiva robots to help with packing in warehouses.
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