The world’s first international giant robot duel is just weeks away.
It’s been a long, 15-month wait for the backers who pitched in $US554,592 to the Kickstarter campaign to build Team USA’s MegaBot contender.
The challenge was taken up by Japanese robotics maker Suidobashi Heavy Industry, which has been shopping out its own 4-metre tall mech, Kuratas, for several years now:
Suidobashi has the upper hand when it comes to experience, but Team USA’s Kickstarter campaign has funded enough upgrades that them to think their bot’s in with a shot at a real-life Pacific Rim showdown.
When it happens, there’ll be somewhere in the vicinity of $US4 million worth of heavy robotic machinery slugging it out.
But first, there’s a whole TV series to get through, and it starts on YouTube on September 28, followed by roughly two-week updates after that.
The first trailer has just dropped:
So let’s be honest – it’s not quite Real Steel. It’s not even quite robots, more just weaponised excavators dressed up in vaguely humanoid forms.
It’s not all that far removed from UK hit Scrapheap Challenge, which ran for a few seasons a couple of years back.
But Scrapheap Challenge was undeniably entertaining, despite the vast majority of Mad Max-like creations failing within 10 seconds of ignition.
It’s hard to imagine that, given the buildup, there’s going to be a certain amount of “theatre” involved to ensure the final Team USA v Team Japan smackdown goes a decent distance. There’s huge safety concerns about human pilots getting accidentally crushed, for starters.
But it is a start. And Team USA hope sponsorship and selling $US500,000 startup kits for other challengers to enter the tournament will be the primer we all need to make a giant fighting robot world series a reality.
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