Kids these days have it made. Case in point: Sakakibara-Kikai's latest creation, the Kidswalker NT, a miniature gasoline-powered exoskeleton that wouldn't look out of place in a Saturday morning cartoon. The original Kidswalker, unveiled in 2010, was designed to placate youngsters who demanded a ride in the company's much larger (and potentially more dangerous) Landwalker. As cool as it was, the Kidswalker has now been upgraded with additional features.
The Kidswalker NT (NT likely standing for New Type) now sports a chest plate that flips up to protect its pilot, and has new moving arms with gripper and "drill" attachments. The latter are activated by twisting the throttle-like controls, and should come in handy when giant monsters attack (which seems to be a fairly common problem in Japan). And, although it doesn't actually walk, the leg movements have been improved for added realism.
The 1.6 meter (5.2 ft) tall, 180 kg (397 lb) robot was a moderate success for the company, selling at least eight units just a few months into production. At a cool US$21,000 this is childhood wish fulfillment on an extravagant scale, but you can always rent one for a day if it's a bit out of your price range. Adults looking for something a little more intimidating will have to settle for the much larger (and more expensive) Kuratas.
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