Japanese Builders Stream Updates on 3.8-Meter Robot Mecha
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Suidobashi Heavy Industry and iron craftsman Kōgorō Kurata have posted several development videos for the piloted iron robot known as "Vaudeville" or "Kuratas." Kurata, best known for building a life-size VOTOMS statue, is now constructing the 3.8-meter-tall (about 12-foot-tall) moving mecha with the company.
Kuratas movement test
Kuratas crushing a cardboard box
Kuratas' and a person's hand moving together
According to Suidobashi Heavy Industry's website, people will be able to control the robot with mobile phones through 3G internet access or with Microsoft's Kinect motion sensor. The company also states that the robot can be customized with options like a water gun for fire fighters or a mop for home cleaning.
Suidobashi Heavy Industry describes itself as follows: "An organization which aims to spread human ride robots. We mass-produce and sell prototype KURATAS by Kogoro Kurata." The company's website lists "coming winter 2011" for Vaudeville, but production is still incomplete. The company plans to make the robot available for online purchase worldwide, and its official Facebook page states that Kuratas will be released in 2012.
The mecha features a one-person cockpit and uses the robotic control software AE V-Sido, developed by Wataru Yoshizaki, to move around. With Yoshizaki's help, Kurata has been developing the robot since January of 2010. Once complete, the robot will weigh about 4,500 kilograms (about 5 tons). The robot will use hydraulics powered by a diesel engine in order to move. It will have four "legs," with wheels attached at the bottom of each one. The cockpit of the robot, located in the robot's "chest," has a hatch that also uses hydraulics to open and close.
The website Gigazine, Kurata's blog, and Suidobashi Heavy Industry's Facebook page have all posted pictures documenting the progress of the robot. Kurata's pictures of a 1/20 scale model to show what the finished product will look like. The craftsman described the robot as a "four-legged, engine-driven, ground-warfare humanoid weapon-type toy robot."
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