Monster mecha with smile-controlled gatling guns makes public debut
July 30, 2012
Hold fire on those Christmas lists. Japanese artist Kogoro Kurata has unveiled a 13 ft (4 meter) tall, 9900 lb (4500 kg) prototype mecha robot called Kuratas, which comes complete with "weapon systems" and is apparently cable of being driven by an onboard human pilot.
Kuratas is controlled via a software system called V-Sido, which, in addition to the cockpit dash, allows control of the robot by smartphone (over a 3G network), or a master-slave system that sees Kuratas mimic the moves of a much smaller model, which can be manipulated into shapes by the user from a remote position. From the cockpit, a steering column is used to steer the robot, which also includes arms of its own which for manipulating the robot's upper limbs. Kinect controls are also an option.
Although Kuratas has legs, it has wheels rather than feet. It can be driven in both high and low configurations, with a diesel-fueled top speed of about 10 km/h (6 mph).
Of course, no mecha is complete without a fearsome arsenal of weaponry, and Kuratas does not disappoint. The water-powered LOHAS launcher appears to fire water bottles over a range of several meters. Its two gatling guns can fire 6000 BBs per minute, and Kuratas can supposedly auto-target and track humans. Most fearsomely of all, the gatling guns fire when the pilot smiles.
Kogoro Kurata points out that this is a work of art rather than a vehicle, and not designed for safety. Despite this, both promo video and website suggest that Kuratas will be available to buy in the future. Starting at a mere US$1,523,500, it appears that your Kuratas will be highly customizable, with a design-it-yourself paint job designer apparently built in to the online ordering tool.
Plasticpals reports that Kuratas made an appearance at this year's Wonder Fest, so there's at least one of these things out there somewhere. Whether the control systems work quite as well as the videos make out, and whether these will ever truly see a commercial release (however limited) remains to be seen.
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