Innovation

by Leigh Beadon


Filed Under:
awesome stuff, japan, robots



Awesome Stuff: When Two Colossal Robots Fight, Everybody Wins

from the rock-'em-sock-'em dept

By now, you've probably heard that there's a giant robot fight coming in the near future: a US team has challenged a Japanese team to a brawl, and the challenge was accepted on the condition that it includes hand-to-hand fighting. Clearly America isn't going to back down because of this requirement, but that means Megabots Inc. needs to upgrade its Mk.II bot — and they're turning to the crowd for help.

The Good

Three words: giant robot fight. Picture BattleBots (it's back!) but way, way bigger and with the drivers inside the robots. Do you need more than that? Well, the specifics are pretty cool: Mk.II is already a formidable robot, but designed mostly to look awesome and deliver long-range attacks. The team has an overall $1.5-million plan to do a significant overhaul and get the Mk.II ready to take on the Japanese bot — and they're seeking the first $500,000 on Kickstarter. That'll cover new armor, melee weapons, a higher top speed, and the necessary hydraulics and power systems to keep all that operational. If they can break through the target and hit some stretch goals, things start to get even more interesting: at $750k they'll begin designing and testing modular weapons to find the best armament; at $1-million they'll begin working with the winners of a DARPA challenge to give the currently-top-heavy Mk.II advanced balancing capabilities (like the videos of self-balancing DARPA robots that get creepier every day); at $1.25-milion they'll bring in NASA safety experts to make sure the driver is completely protected (should this maybe be... higher priority?); and at $1.5-million they'll apply the icing to the cake in the form of a Hollywood-grade paint job.

Even if you don't care who wins this fight, you probably want to see it happen.

The Bad

...And if you do care who wins this fight (and are rooting for the US) then you should probably back this project, because at the moment there's plenty of reason to believe that the Mk.II might have bitten off more than it can chew. Its opponent — the Kuratas by Suidobashi Heavy Industry — is an extremely impressive machine. The Mk.II might be a bit heavier-duty, but the Kuratas is far more maneuverable and features some pretty advanced targeting and piloting systems. It's pretty clear why the Japanese team wanted a hand-to-hand combat component: the Kuratas hasn't been seen sporting any particularly heavy firepower (while the US bot, unsurprisingly, has) but it's not hard to picture it taking out the Mk.II up close by trumping it on manoeuvrability and balance — because, like so many robot competitions over the years, there's a good chance this one will end somewhat-disappointingly with one of the bots unceremoniously falling over. $1.5-million worth of upgrades will go a long way towards ensuring this is a fair and intense fight.

The Empowering

Of course, as much fun as it will be to see these robots in action, the real dream for many will be to drive one — and that's absolutely a possibility. Starting at $1000, all the tiers offer the chance to pilot the Mk.II — with higher prices bringing in the chance to try out its guns and fists. At the top tier of $10,000, you get to join the pit crew and get the inside view of the entire match including watching on-site assembly of the bot — and since all five spots were snatched up far more quickly than expected, the team has added another round of five, and three of those have already been claimed.


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  • icon
    Valis (profile), 22 Aug 2015 @ 11:32am

    "...and deliver long-range attacks."

    Typical of the US, they can only kill people at a distance :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Max (profile), 22 Aug 2015 @ 1:01pm

    Hell yeah

    Backed on sight. Don't even care who wins, I just want to see the fight. And thanks for the heads-up - try as I might, I can't monitor all categories on KS...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dan, 22 Aug 2015 @ 5:23pm

    Holy smokes! Those Kuratas are awesome! The smile shot is killer against unarmored targets. But how will it fare in melee combat? From the video, it does not have much melee capability except perhaps to run over injured kittens.

    Much as I like MegaBots' video, I am rooting for Japan for this one. Make a Patlabor bot!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Aug 2015 @ 11:43pm

    What happened to capitalism?

    What's the point of supporting Team America, if they can't even fund their robot the capitalist way, instead begging for a hand-out?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 7:29am

      Re: What happened to capitalism?

      You don't really understand capitalism, huh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Aug 2015 @ 9:42pm

        Re: Re: What happened to capitalism?

        Well, unless capitalism is another word for begging then I guess you don't know much about it either, huh?

        Those people do beg for money and don't use the capalistic way of searching an investor. You know or well... you probably don't... an investor gets something in return based on the percentage of her or his investment.

        But I guess it's not your fault. The education system is really a mess nowadays imho.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 9:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: What happened to capitalism?

          Uh huh. Well, you clearly have a narrow and simplistic understanding of the topic. Here we have a platform facilitating millions of dollars of transactions between consumers and businesses, successfully funding the creation of countless products, launching new companies, revitalizing entire creative fields, and in general generating a massive amount of positive economic activity in the free market -- but you think it's somehow anti-capitalist because it doesn't follow one particular narrow pattern that you're used to.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Zonker, 24 Aug 2015 @ 1:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: What happened to capitalism?

          It's just as capitalist as a $10,000 per plate dinner with the President. The product, in this case a battle robot, is the investment and obviously a lot of people are willing to invest in its creation/upgrade.

          I've invested in the creation of computer games on Kickstarter that would never have existed otherwise, and that is far more rewarding than any of the pledge rewards promised for donating at certain dollar thresholds. I don't see and state or government handouts going to these private companies creating awesome things with our pledges, nor are we being forced by the government to fund them.

          Per the Meriam-Webster dictionary:
          Capitalism: an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Zonker, 24 Aug 2015 @ 2:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: What happened to capitalism?

            Also note that there is no selfish for-profit motive for investment requirement in the definition of capitalism above. So no, you do not need to make a percentage of the profits on anything you invest in for it to qualify as a private investment under a capitalist system. Private entities donate to private non-profit charities all the time in the US and we don't call that socialism because it isn't.

            (Correction: Obviously I meant "I don't see any state or government..." in my previous comment. Oops.)

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 24 Aug 2015 @ 1:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: What happened to capitalism?

          Those people do beg for money and don't use the capalistic way of searching an investor. You know or well... you probably don't... an investor gets something in return based on the percentage of her or his investment.

          It boggles the mind how you can look at kickstarter and not see exactly what you are describing. Kickstarter allows those with prospective ideas/projects to present their idea to potential 'investors' in the form of 'backers', and those backers do get something for their 'investment', whether that's a copy of the finished product or some other perk.

          What you are describing as 'capitalism' is exactly what is going on here, yet you insist on calling it 'begging'. I guess capitalism as a whole is nothing more than begging then.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mooch (profile), 23 Aug 2015 @ 10:20am

    Nope. Rooting for the Japanese. It's their territory. Get whipped, US. :-P

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 24 Aug 2015 @ 6:16am

    This is like a question I heard a while back:

    "In a battle between a T-rex and Godzilla, who wins?"

    Best reply (given in a questioning tonne):

    "Entertainment?"

    So, yeah. I say start a "world Cup" of heavy bots, please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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