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Megabots soliciting Kickstarter funds to make mecha battle dreams come true

By Liu Hongzuo - on 21 Aug 2015, 3:24pm

Megabots soliciting Kickstarter funds to make mecha battle dreams come true

Kuratas, mecha by Suidobashi Heavy Industry.

Step aside, Chappie, because this fight is about to get real. Recently, the makers of Megabots Mk. II challenged Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s mecha - the Kuratas - to a giant robot duel. According to their challenge, issued via YouTube, the fight needs to happen because they “have a duty to the science fiction lovers of this world to fight them to the death”. To see their full challenge, you can watch it here:

The CEO of Suidobashi Heavy Industry, Kogoro Kurata, has responded to said challenge in kind:

The founder of the Kuratas mecha agreed on one condition – that if the fight happens, it will have to be melee combat.
“If we are going to win this, I want to punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it,’ said Kurata, after accepting the duel challenge.

In light of the Kurata’s response, Megabots Inc.’s co-founders Matt Oehrlein, Andrew Stroup, and Gui Cavalcanti cobbled up a Kickstarter page to gather sufficient funds in order to match the demands of the melee mecha duel. The founders of the US-made robot are seeking a minimum of US$500,000 (S$704,550) for much-needed upgrades, with more than half of the goal met.

Kuratas by Suidobashi Heavy Industry

We can see why the Kuratas asked for a fist fight.

At a glance, the sharp-looking Kuratas is a 4,400kg mecha that stands at approximately 3.6m tall. It can be piloted by one person. It has more than 30 hydraulic joints and it can fire rockets made from water bottles, fireworks, and gattling BB-guns at up to 6,000 BB-gun rounds per minute by having the pilot smile. Piloting the mecha requires the use of its V-Shido control system created by robotics researcher Wataru Yoshizaki. 

Apparently, customizing your own Kuratas is easier than getting US$1.35 million.

The most intimidating bit about the Kuratas, which was completed in 2013, is that the makers are ready to mass-produce, and are taking orders on their website. Each Kuratas mecha starts at US$1.35 million (S1.9 million).

Megabots Mk. II by Megabots Inc.

Megabot Mk. II, with its three co-founders from Megabot Inc.

In the other corner, we have the crude-looking Megabots Mk. II, a 12,000 pound (5,443kg) piloted mecha that is almost 4.6m tall. However, it requires upgrades even though it’s a much newer release when compared to the Kuratas. If they succeed in soliciting funds, the minimum initial US$500,000 should upgrade the Megabots’s hydraulics, give it armor to take a punch, and multiply it’s speed by five times - currently, it’s moving at a third of Kuratas’s top speed of 6 miles (9.66km) per hour, and the upgrade will make the Megabots's speed cap out at twice of Kuratas’s.

While it doesn't have the polish of their rival, it would make sense not to be on the wrong end of the Megabots Mk II.

What the Megabots Mk II lacks, is made up in its equity and value-added potential. Should the company gets its ideal, maximum US$1.5 million (S$2.11 million) funding, the Megabot Mk. II will get modular weapons array, a custom high-end balance control designed by IHMC Robotics, a NASA life safety system for a safer mecha pilot, and a Hollywood-grade paint job by FonCo Creative Services. The Megabots founders are currently advised by ex-Mythbusters custom robot builder Grant Imahara, as well as Trey Roski and Greg Munson, founders of remote-controlled robot fighting show BattleBots.

Concept art of the Megabot Mk II's features and visuals after its refurbishment using Kickstarter funds.

Right now, it’s up to the Americans to redo their mecha, set a time and a place, before the rest of us bring out the popcorn. If you wish to expedite the fight, or if you support the American side for some odd reason, you can check out their Kickstarter page here.

Sources: Engadget, Time, The Verge

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