Friday, June 1, 2012

Japan's Real Giant Mechas

One of these robots, the Vaudeville, is more recent than the other.  Only the hobby enthusiasts in Japan have actually materialized any giant robot that is driveable.  Landwalker was the original mecha that could actually be piloted and it looks like some robot enthusiasts have combined XBOX 360 Kinect technology to actually create a remotely controlled giant mecha - one that can also be piloted in a cockpit.

All very cool - wish there was a robot show you could go to and actually see both in action.  Vaudeville from Suidobashi Heavy Industry is supposed to be a kit you can buy once they perfect it so you can do your own robot show to impress your friends and the neighbours.  Better get a two car garage though.

Land Walker

"The Land Walker is a one-man, two-legged supposed walker transport, 3.40 metres in height. Made with the assistance of P.A. Technology, the walker is copyright of the Sakakibara Kikai Co. and Ltd.
The vehicle's design features a cockpit, two legs, and two air cannons (each firing large rubber balls which ironically cost more than bullets). The legs end in feet containing wheels that help push the walker forward. The walker's usual speed is approximately 1.5 km/h. It does not actually walk, however, instead shuffling on wheels hidden under its "feet." This means it is not technically a walker; it merely has the appearance of one." From Wikipedia.

Landwalker Front  Flickr / naoK
Landwalker Side  Flickr / naoK
http://www.sakakibara-kikai.co.jp/products/other/LW.htm

Kuratas
This is a big heavy robot that is 4 metres high, and weighs 4,500 kgs.  It was supposed to be completed near the end of 2011 originally, but technological innovation doesn't work on a schedule.  The video below was shot in April 2012 showing it under development, but it looks good.  It is meant to be controlled remotely or by a pilot occupant.  Their web page has some pics here http://suidobashijuko.jp/.  It look like it is a wheeled robot on 4 crab-like legs. but it's most interesting things are the control schemes which are by using Kinect to sense the motions of the pilot.  Turn your head to turn the mech and such.

UPDATE:  At Wonderfest 2012 they demoed the Kuratas and posted more info.

These real world mechas were built by real dreamers and I salute them! I was inspired by these mechs along with a lifetime of reading science fiction, watching anime (especially mecha anime), and playing video games to do a little writing of my own in the genre.  I created the world of Exocrisis Blue, where the Earth has been invaded by the Blue Newts and mankind strikes back with reverse engineered technology in the form of a type of mecha called HARM. You can visit my author's site for more information here.

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