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Making a Cartoon Dream into a Technological Reality

2006/03/06 Source

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Taekwon V, one of Korea's most popular animation characters, has been a screen hero since his debut in 1976. Taekwon V is a robot who delivers powerful Taekwondo kicks, shoots a laser beam from his chest, and can block missiles while flying through the air.

At the same time that the Korean film industry envisions a new Taekwon V series, technological concerns are envisioning how to realize this animation character. Ten prominent Korean scientists recently announced a list of the "Top 10 Taekwon V technologies" that will be developed and make a functional robot like Taekwon V a reality in the not too distant future.

The fields proposed for practical development listed were as follows:


BMI technology, which connects the human brain to a robot will allow humans to move a robot at a distance in the same manner that he would want to move. BMI technology could facilitate this process by planting electrodes in the human brain that allow humans to exchange signals with a robot.
Shin Young-chul (Professor, Hanlim Medical School)

Sensors: Eyes, Ears, and Hands for Seeing, Hearing and Feeling

The most important element to make possible movement for a real Taekwon V is a balance sensor. This device will enable Taekwon V to sense his own movements. Then Taekwon V will need a touch and visual sensor to identify objects close by and landscapes in the distance.
Lee Soo-young (Director, Brain Research Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology)

Heart of Fire

Taekwon V's heart will consist of a nuclear fusion system. Tokamak Systems, has developed a commercial system for nuclear fusion, is still too big to serve as the robot's heart. A nuclear fusion system, which NASA is developing to serve as a spaceship engine, may be compact enough and can be be used to develop electricity and propel engines.
Kwon Myun (Director, Research and Development, National Fusion Research Center)

Body (System design)

For Taekwon V to fly freely in the air, its body must be able to transform into a streamline shape. Also, Taekwon V's arms and legs must be equipped with a fuel system, control system, and communications system in order to attack its enemy effectively. The body must be built from a light material that can maximize Taekwon V's instant speed.
Kim Mun-sang (Director, Intelligent Robotics 21Century Frontier Project)


If we use two rocket engines that were developed in Russia, it will be possible for Taekwon V to fly for three minutes. In May 1996, America's latest model of rocket, the DC-XA, is perhaps the closest aviation model for a Taekwon V. If Taekwon V is expected to stop dead in the air and fly freely in any direction, it will need an anti-gravity technology.
Chae Yun Suk (Research Associate, Korea Aerospace Research Institute)


With the current technology, it is not possible to increase speed and power simultaneously. To achieve these two goals, we need a human based motor that functions like human muscles and bones. The human-based motor creates much less noise and absorbs shock more effectively. Electroactive Polymers are a good candidate for this function.
Lee Byung Joo (Professor, Computer Science, Hanyang University)

Control of Movements

To walk, run, jump, and fly as freely as Taekwon V does, the robot must have an ability to maintain balance by itself and an ability to imitate others' movements.
Oh Joon-ho (Professor, Mechanical Engineering, KAIST)


Constructing a base for Taekwon V is feasible with current technology. For Taekwon V to be able to launch like a rocket, it is better for the launch location to be located along the seashore instead of in a mountain.
Hyundai Construction


Taekwon V should be built with a light material that endures extremely high
Temperature and has an ability to heal by itself. It should also react to the physical conditions of a robot pilot.
Hong Kyung-tae (Director, Metal Processing Research Center, Korea Institute of
Science and Technology)


Taekwon V's rocket punch requires an intricate system of an aero-control and a retro- engine. Laser beams of that quality will be realized around the year 2015. A new material that is high in energy efficiency could serve the function of the beam that radiates from the robot's chest.
Chang Young-keun (Professor, Aerospace Engineering, Hankuk Aviation University)

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