What if you owned a house that walks? Interesting right? You could take it with you where ever you want. Collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US, and N55, a Scandinavian-based art collective, set in motion the idea to create a house that can walk. On its first trial, the house walked five km across the 11-acre Wysing Art Center, Cambridgeshire campus in UK, at human muscle speed.
The Walking House, as it is called, is 10 feet high, powered by solar panels, has a kitchen, toilet, bed and walks on six legs. It was designed as a part of an art project at the Wysing Art Center. Developed as an eco-friendly house, it is powered by solar cells and miniature windmills. They also have a rainwater harvesting
system, which collects the rainwater and uses another system for solar-heated hot water. It can also move on any surface, thus making it easy for use. The house can turn left and right and change its height too.
The legs’ design and software was designed by MIT student Samuel Kronick. He says, “Leg systems require a software algorithm to calculate the position of each articulated element based on the desired location of the foot. This process is called inverse
kinematics (IK). IK algorithms are fairly well-developed for rotary joint systems, like servo-based hexapod walkers, but since we came up with the tetrahedral legs, I had to write my own IK system.”
A maximum of four people can live inside one house. The N55 website says, “The module can be constructed from numerous materials. It is based on a framework made of steel, aluminum or wood and can be covered with steel, aluminum, wood or even semi-permeable textiles. Windows are made of polycarbonate. Insulation could be anything from thin plates of Polyethylene to wool.” You can also attach external modules to the house like a greenhouse or a small working factory.
N55 also feels that this could lead to a formation of Walking House Villages, where people can live together in their own house while also travelling. “As an example, a Walking Village could be those who specialise in food production. They can attach special modules for fish farming and so on,” says the website.
Samuel is also planning to make an “amphibious version” which can float on water and also integrate a GPS system inside the current house.