Retorfuturist Fashback: Mecha 1960


Even dead trees cannot withstand it! Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

How did the people of the 1960s propose to move dead trees and fight off villainous kaiju?

Why with a mech suit or mecha of course! See, the times haven't changed all that much.

Here we see an image from 1960 of "a giant robot maneuvered by a human driver ... currently being planned by the US Army." According to GE Reports, General Electric developed this and other designs for the U.S. Army, who wanted a walking vehicle capable of navigating rough, steep terrain.

This end product was the 1965 Cybernetic Anthropmorophous Machine (CAM), a sort of walking truck. The following test footage shows you just what it was capable of:

While walking vehicles remain a future vision to this day, CAM technology did work its way into various underwater uses, such as the GE-designed hydraulic arms for the world's first aluminum submarine, the Aluminaut.


About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.