Hand of Man Mechanical Claw


[Christian Ristow], a former Muppet creator, has created a much larger puppet that has caught the attention of Popular Mechanics. His Hand of Man is a 27 foot long remote control mechanical claw. Powered by a 90 hp diesel engine, the hydraulic system can be controlled by a glove worn by the operator. This started as a demonstration for a robotics fair, but has recently made appearances at Burning Man, Maker Faire, and had the Grand Champions seat of Popular Mechanic’s Backyard Geniuses Award. While not as practical as some robotic human augmentations, it can crush a car. [Christian] is even allowing anyone who is interested at these events to pick things up and crush them at their own whim.

Various promo videos after the jump.

Burning Man 2008:

Makers-Faire 2009:

Popular Science BG Award Video

[photo Popular Mechanics]


  1. monkeyslayer56 says:

    now to get 2 of these 2 legs similar to theses and have a harness in the middle and valla a mec bot (over simplified…)

  2. googfan says:

    that is really awesome. now all we need is the rest of the body.

    ps: anyone want to buy a new fluke 114 multimeter? $95
    message me at mrgoogfan(at)gmail(dot)com. reasonable offers accepted.

  3. hum4n says:

    closer and closer to full blown mechs

  4. Zymastorik says:

    Again this is useless tech. while it might be cool to play with, it serves no genuine purpose other than entertainment.

  5. barry99705 says:

    We need to talk about your TPS reports.

  6. Pilotgeek says:

    @Zymastorik: Shutup. I get comments on my stuff from people like you sometimes. It doesn’t have to serve a direct purpose, it could be for his own education (furthering understanding of how to build things like this) or as a proof of concept for something more practical but similar in workings. Also, it’s a hobby. People have fun building things and showing them off. Your comment also serves no genuine purpose other than to piss people off.

    Full size mechs are on their way. This is sooo cool.

  7. barry99705 says:

    Holy Fuck Balls!!!! We have CAPS!!!!

  8. Drew says:

    This is seriously bad ass. I love the concept- crushing at a whim is an awesome thing.

    I would be extremely interested to see how the scaled glove control concept works- I have wanted exactly that sort of interface for my own idea like this- but I come nowhere near his scale.

    Seriously bad, bad ass.

  9. napalm says:

    @ barry#####
    OMG YOU DOUCHE! it doesn’t matter if we have caps when people will soon walk the earth in mechs!

  10. googfan says:



  11. incognito53 says:

    I Can Talk In First Letter Caps If I Want To.. but my shift pinkies hurt so i’m going back to lowercase

  12. SteveM says:

    I swear I just saw that thing poised ominously over a hovering globe in the lobby of the Illuminati headquarters.

  13. JanezD says:

    Yeah sure but does it do flies?

  14. leomontag says:

    why people create stuff with no use?

  15. bolke says:

    and if you don’t get it, then this isn’t the site for you.

  16. Pilotgeek says:

    what, no arduinos?

  17. Agent420 says:

    Love it – I would gladly pay cash to destroy a few things ;)

    Anybody appreciating this will likely find the ‘art’ of Survival Research Labs interesting as well. Taglines such as “Hovercraft: The loudest robot in the world at 150 decibels. Louder than a cruise missile until it blows up.”


  18. R2D2 says:

    @Pilotgeek: You are a Sphincter!!!!

    This is truely a mint piece of kit…

  19. strider_mt2k says:

    This thing is awesome and the detractors are whiny little bitches whose greatest creations are and ever will be their little troll posts.

  20. The_Evil_Machinist says:

    Its response time is a little slow for a mech. We need better hydralic systems!!!

  21. Ben S says:

    Reminds me of the MJ12 hand in Deus Ex: http://www.williamwilling.com/blog/pictures/deus-ex.jpg

  22. Buzzkill says:

    I don’t know about making it go faster. That is a lot of mass to be flinging around. You’d have to beef up the arm significantly, which would mean more weight, which would mean bigger hydraulics, etc, etc. It looks like it bounces around quite a bit with just the weight he has on there now.

  23. @buzzkill wow way to live up to your name… seriously though, this thing is friggin ill, and I’m gonna start blueprints for a mech immediately. We have to beat the japs right!?

    (Racism adding for purpose of humor only)

  24. EdZ says:

    It’s a very nice piece of art, but it doesn’t bring anybody any closer to building any sort of giant robot/mech/VOTOM/labor/MS/AS/etc. The control system has no feedback in EITHER direction.
    This is not a potential component of a mech in the same way an ice cream cone is not a re-entry vehicle. Both are ablative porous bicones, but looking the part is not sufficient.

  25. OrderZero says:

    Time to add another invention to the mad scientist collection.

  26. flyback says:

    damn, needs 5 digits so it can flip people off

  27. flyback says:

    Yeah yeah, it’s been a long day, first I went to the doctor a day early cause I thought it was thursday and now “count fail”

  28. Drone says:

    The designer of this thing needs to bone up on basic mechanical and control systems engineering. The device looks precariously unstable. Even the smallest movements induce oscillations.

  29. Christian says:

    Hi, this is Christian, the designer and builder of the Hand Of Man.
    First off, thanks to those of you who “get it”. You are the people I built this for.
    To those of you who don’t get it, or can’t fathom why anyone would build something like this, which is quite obviously intended for entertainment, I don’t quite know what to say other than that you should probably get out more.
    And to you, Drone, I can say the following: I know a bit about mechanical and control systems engineering, certainly more than most folks who never studied it. And I am willing to actually DO quite a lot with what little I do know. Believe me, I would LOVE to put proportional controls and feedback on this thing, but do you have any idea how expensive that is? I received a generous grant from Burning Man to build the HAND, but in the end it only covered about half of the expense. As a result of this labor of love, I am now more in debt than I have ever been in my life. If one were to very optimistically estimate the cost of converting ONE hydraulic circuit to proportional, with the valve, driver card, and feedback system, at $750, then the HAND, with 10 circuits, would cost $7500. Try living as a broke artist for 20 years and see how feasible that is.
    It’s apparently easy to criticize. Maybe a bit harder to think first.
    Once again, thanks very much to all of you who give positive feedback. Your comments, and the smiles on the faces of the people who actually operate the HAND, make it worth it.

  30. Loral says:

    I wanna Try!

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