Some time back, the 10-year-old in all of us leaped with glee as the gauntlet that was thrown by MegaBots Inc. was accepted by Suidobashi Heavy Industry. The entire world can now look forward to a giant robot battle (technically a mech battle) between Team U.S.A and Team Japan, “in one year.” However, the American robot, the Mk.II, requires a lot of upgrades and MegaBots, Inc. has not only called in a bunch of experts, but also started a campaign on Kickstarter to help fund the upgrades.
Before we continue, let’s do a quick recap.
Back in July, MegaBots, Inc. posted a cool video in which they showed off their robot, the Mk.II., fitted with “really… big… guns.” The guns fire large paintballs and in the video, we can see it in action against some cars. However, it was towards the end of their video that things got really interesting. MegaBots called out to Suidobashi Heavy Industry and their robot, the Kuratas and challenged it to a battle.
The CEO/Founder/Creator of Suidobash Heavy Industries, Kogoro Kurata, replied with an emphatic “absolutely”. Their robot, Kuratas, is a four-wheeled marvel armed with twin gatling guns that can fire BB rounds, and a launcher capable of shooting fireworks. However, Suidobashi introduced a small condition - melee combat. They want to “punch them to scrap and knock them down to do it.”
As anyone can see, the Mk.II definitely needs an upgrade, especially when it comes to melee weapons, so that we all get the giant robot battle we deserve. To get those upgrades, it has roped in the likes of NASA and Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara to help design a robot that will not only win the battle, but look good while doing so. While no one can doubt their enthusiasm or patriotism, funding the upgrades is a source of concern. Hence, the people at MegaBots, Inc. have turned to the public for help.
The minimum goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to hit $500,000, which will allow them to add additional armor plating, “serious firepower”, upgraded hydraulics, increased top speed, and better power unit. They will work with Howe & Howe Technologies to build a custom track base for the Mk.II to gain over five times their current top speed.
If the campaign goes over the minimum amount, then expect even more additions to the Mk.II. If they raise over $750,000, they will design and build modular components for melee and ranged combat. They already have a multitude of ideas on how to go about this, ranging from pneumatically-driven fists, claws, flamethrowers, cannons, and a lot more. The only problem is that no one has ever built such things at this scale, so there is a lot of testing involved.
If the campaign goes over the $1,000,000 mark, MegaBots, Inc. will work with the people at IHMC Robotics to develop a dynamic balancing algorithm that will drastically reduce the chances of the robot toppling over when it’s hit. Without this, the battle may be a lot shorter and totally anti-climactic.
Once they cross the target of $1,250,000, NASA will help create a safer cockpit in the Mk.II that will help keep the pilots safe and not black out during hard hits. On a side note, it’s really interesting to see that MegaBots, Inc. has prioritised top speed, armor, and weaponry over cockpit safety. WAY TO GO MEGABOTS!
If the target of $1,500,000 is reached, FonCo Creative Services will come in and give the giant robot the look it deserves. The “Hollywood-grade” look will not only notch up its ‘badass’ factor, but will also leave no doubt about the Mk.II's nationality.
If all these upgrades happen, then the giant robot battle may just turn out to be even more awesome than what we can think of. Who knows, it might also lead to a whole new sport where once every four years, countries from around the globe come together to battle it out for ultimate robot supremacy, and the losers are consigned to the scrap heap.