By Sean Hollister posted May 14th 2010 7:45AM

These days, you don’t have to be a whiz kid to build robots in your basement: off-the-shelf microcontrollers, Arduino boards and Lego Mindstorms can take care of the hard work. Adam Halverson, however, is the real deal — he built his first robot at the age of twelve, and after six years of failed attempts, he’s crafted a full-size humanoid that can walk. Filed with pistons, servos and an assimilated laptop, the VSR-2:Talos FG cost the South Dakota high school senior $10,000 to build with fellow student Anthony Winterton; he claims he could reconstruct it for half now that he’s done. The hulking metal machine won him an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, where he’s competing for up to $75,000 in prize money. We’ll be watching to see if he recoups his investment — awards will be announced this afternoon. See how the Talos FG’s gears mesh in our gallery, or watch the bot take its first steps after the break.