Finally, after millennia of bullshit agriculture and metallurgy and revolutions industrial, political, cultural, whatever, shit’s finally getting good. That’s because there are now two giant, functional, manned robotic mecha-Gundam-Pacific Rim-giant-robot-whatever suits, and it looks like they’re gonna fight. Who will win? Everyone.
The U.S.-based MegaBots organization has just completed the MegaBot Mark II, “America’s first fully-functional giant piloted robot.” MegaBot Mark II is a brutal looking machine, resembling the aftermath of an orgy between a construction site full of heavy equipment and one very horny giant robot.
MegaBot Mark II is laden with guns able to fire three-pound paint cannonballs at 100+MPH speeds. It’s bipedal, with caterpillar treads for feet, so it’s able to squat and move on the treads, or, it appears, roll on the treads (and fight) upright. I don’t think it’s capable of bipedal walking, as such, even though they make a point to mention a thesis on robotic bipedal locomotion on their site. Still, for fighting purposes, the dual-tread solution may prove more stable.
The Mark II is an impressive looking machine, but, as its maker’s point out, it’s not the first. Suidobashi Heavy Industries out of Japan has built the Kuratas, a similarly-scaled giant piloted robot with plenty of guns and a very advanced-looking HUD and targeting system.
If we’re honest, the Kuratas does look, at least in pictures and video, to be somewhat more refined and advanced than the MegaBot Mark II. Here, look at the damn thing:
Kuratas is roughly humanoid-shaped, but more of a hexapod in that it has six total limbs, with four ‘legs’ terminating in wheels for fast locomotion. It’s similarly packed with guns, and certainly seems like a worthy adversary.
The MegaBot’s video challenge to Suidobashi acknowledged that both robots would need time for “modifications” for the fight, and set the date at one year from now. They left the choice of venue up to the Japanese team. If everyone promises not to tell my wife, I volunteer my backyard as a possible venue.
As it stands right now, I think this looks to be a pretty spectacular matchup, with each fighter having some unique qualities sort of particular to their respective countries’ engineering culture. The Japanese mech does seem a little more refined and advanced, which could be an advantage, but that also means more complexity, which could prove to be a liability in the fight.
The American ‘bot looks a bit cruder on the surface and doesn’t seem (at least not yet) to have the advanced electronics of the Japanese opponent, but that ruggedness and simplicity could translate into something better suited to the brutality of the arena.
It looks to be a good fight. There’s so many factors at play here, including the fight venue, what the teams do in the intervening year, and even if Kurata’s team will accept at all, that I don’t feel comfortable making any predictions just yet.
But I really hope I can cover it when it happens. Japan, the big robo-ball’s in your court!
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