Preparations are underway for the U.S. vs. Japan giant robot fighting match. As you probably remember, Team Japan’s skipper, Kogoro Kurata, accepted the challenge under the condition that melee combat be part of the contest. “Come on, guys, make [your robot] cooler,” Kurata said at the time. “Just building something huge and sticking guns on it [is so] Super American.”
That means MegaBots is going to have to retool their 15-foot-tall Mark II with at least one arm that can punch, grab or wrassle. They’ll have to upgrade the armor to withstand whatever Kurata’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry ‘bot will have up (or on) its sleeve. They’ll also have to re-think the robot’s “feet,” which are currently tracked, to be able to withstand a punch and keep its footing. And of course, the robot will need “an incredibly sweet paint job. While not strictly required, this is a matter of national pride.”
Hence the MegaBots Kickstarter campaign:
Their $500,000 target is the bare minimum required for basic upgrades, but the team is actually hoping to raise more:
At $750,000 they’d be able to incorporate “an array of melee and ranged weapon systems options” like “crushing and grasping claws, pile drivers, shields, pneumatically-driven fists, cannons of all shapes and sizes, and flamethrowers (just in case).”
At $1,000,000 they’d get to work with a U.S. team that participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge to tweak their machine’s balance, so it doesn’t fall over after eating a haymaker.
At $1.25 million they’d get access to NASA’s life safety systems to protect the pilot. I thought the same thing as you—why the heck is this one so far down the list? “We need make sure we can fight as aggressively as possible while also not blacking out from impacts. Safety 4th, folks,” writes the MegaBots team.
Finally, $1.5 million allows them to get aforementioned sweet paint job.
Since MegaBots will be decommissioning the existing guns on the Mark II, they want to send them off with a bang. Fan feedback indicated Arnold Schwarzenegger was the most desired man for this job, so the team is trying to get him into the cockpit to be the last to fire the guns:
By the way, the MegaBots team took Kurata’s verbal jab to heart, creating a T-shirt (one of the funding rewards) utilizing his phrase:
At press time the campaign had reached $380,000, and there’s still 20 days to go.