Two Japanese robot fanatics have followed their dreams and created the ultimate Peter Pan toy for the boys who never grew up. Inspired by their love of sci-fi anime, artist Kogoro Kurata and software programming whiz Wataru Yoshizaki have in the space of just two years created a 4 ton, 4-metre tall, wearable robot so forward-looking it could have been pulled straight from an anime magazine. The Kuratas bot, as it is known, is a steel giant which can, despite its weight, attain speeds of up to 10 kilometres per hour as its diesel engine and 30 hydraulic joints carry it along on the four wheels on each of its four ‘limbs’. The driver must climb inside the cockpit to operate the robot, where he will discover some more fun features, such as the machine gun-like arm which can fire off an amazing 6,000 BB-like projectiles per minute. All the more amazing is that the arm can be controlled by nothing but the pilot’s facial expressions, with the aptly-named ‘Smile Shot’.
This is not Kogoro Kurata’s first experimentation with building robots. The Kuratas bot is the fruit of his previous labours, which include his huge lifesize – but immobile – replica of an anime cartoon robot, and his hydraulic-powered invention which can shoot footballs as fast as 200kph. But although Kurata certainly had the drive and determination to create the huge, animated robots he envisioned, he lacked the technical knowhow to create the computer programming systems. Cue Wataru Yoshizaki, the software wizard who shared Kurata’s dream for building giant, fully-functioning robots. Yoshizaki’s self-developed V-Shido system, which allows robots to be controlled remotely by voice recognition or motion detectors, was perfect, and so the Kuratas bot was born. Kurata and Yoshizaki even covered the costs themselves, so intent were they on creating the bot according to their own design, free from any commercial input.
Fancy a Kuratas of your own? It won’t come cheap. Prices begin at around ¥100 million, or a mere £800,000. For a little (read: a lot) extra, you can get additional features to customise your ‘bot, such as a BB shooter (¥5.5 million), or a carbon shield (only ¥5.8 million). To make Kuratas truly your own, why not have it painted in your choice of colours, or get a special-edition leather pilot’s seat?
Whilst we might not all have the spare cash (or the floorspace) to get one of these hydraulic creatures, what is sure is that Kurata and Yoshizaki’s creation will inspire and challenge others to follow their lead. Here’s to innovation, creation, and robots with smile-controlled BB guns!
Sources include: Japan Times
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