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South Korea's plan for a robot-themed amusement park switches back on

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January 23, 2014

Robot Land would immerse thousands of parkgoers in robotics edutainment and research

Robot Land would immerse thousands of parkgoers in robotics edutainment and research

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Since 2007, the South Korean government has dreamed of Robot Land, a robotics research park and themed destination with rides, exhibitions, shopping, and even housing. Although the originally planned open date of 2012 has come and gone, ground was officially broken for the 300-acre park last year and a new timeline seems to indicate that Robot Land may now be on target to deliver on its promise of a themed world dedicated to robots.

To be located in the city of Incheon in northwestern South Korea, the massive plan promises “Fun and fantasy with robot!” But although the glitzy CGI mockups of robotic carousels and giant statues are enticing, the location is also planned as a research park dedicated to education and innovation, and even promises hotels, condos, and office buildings for those who want to work alongside the robots.

A giant robot could house food and shopping in the planned Robot Land

Kids of all ages can ride a robotic giraffe on a carousel, splash in a water park, or be flung on a coaster by a robotic arm. But the majority of the planned offerings veer more towards edutainment, with a interactive robot aquarium, exhibition halls, and an auto factory that introduces visitors to a robotic automotive assembly line. And to compete with other famous giant Asian robots, earlier park designs included a giant robot-building hybrid in the visage of Taekwon V, a Korean movie character similar in appearance to a Transformer.

But because someone has to do the hard research work to fuel the fun of tomorrow, the park will also incorporate the Graduate School of Robotics, industrial support facilities, and R & D buildings.

While it might be easy to dismiss the project as a novelty or faddish, it’s rooted in the country’s vision of future growth, according to an earlier press release, as robotics are crucial to South Korea’s main industries of flat panel displays, cars, semiconductors, and shipbuilding. With its emphasis on edutainment and exploration of the future, it draws more comparisons to World Fairs of yesteryear, or the Epcot Center in the US.

A bird's eye night view of the planned robotic theme park in Incheon, South Korea

The new timeline for the complete theme park calls for a gradual rollout, according to the website, with the public interest facilities, such as the exhibitions and theme park opening in 2015, and the full park opening in 2016.

As much of the information on the park’s website is outdated (no doubt related to keeping it translated into four languages) and contains broken email addresses, and given the difficulties the government has had in proceeding with this park, it's easy to remain a little dubious of its long-term success. But should the park open as planned, I hope Gizmag knows exactly who to send to provide a detailed report in 2016.

Below is a concept video of Incheon Robot Land, laden with exciting CGI visualizations and more robots than you can nervously shake a stick at.

Source: Robot Land, via Fast Company

About the Author
Heidi Hoopes Heidi measures her life with the motley things she's done in the name of scientific exploration. While formally educated in biology and chemistry, informally she learns from adventures and hobbies with her family. Her simple pleasures in life are finding turtles while jogging and obsessively winnowing through her genetic data.   All articles by Heidi Hoopes
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5 Comments

This will definitely be put on my nerdy bucket list. My inner geek really wants to go there.

BigWarpGuy
24th January, 2014 @ 06:12 am PST

Building an entire theme park that is designed to reflect a future vision is a losing proposition. That vision's perspective is nailed to the date of opening, set in concrete and steel at monstrous expense, and from opening day begins a slide into an outdated vision. Disney discovered this as all their Tomorrowlands gradually aged into Yesterdaylands. Their solution was to embrace a Retro vision of the future... which never becomes outdated. RobotLand is going to have to commit to spending vast fortunes to keep this place fresh in light of the accelerating advances of robotics. It should be fun for a deade or so.

Satweavers
24th January, 2014 @ 08:51 am PST

Good thing there isn't a group of people that need to be sneakily extracted from Iran or North Korea or similar rotten location.

Robot Land would be perfect for a government intelligence agency to ruin like the CIA did to the movie Lord of Light and the Science Fiction Land theme park (the plan was to use build the park as sets for the movie, and use the movie as promotion for the park) - so they could appropriate the plot and other stuff for the fake movie "Argo" as a premise to get the people out of Iran who got out of the Embassy before the [s]terrorists[/s] "students" invaded and took it over.

Gregg Eshelman
24th January, 2014 @ 02:25 pm PST

Just hope it's better than 'Westworld'. ;)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcL3eP0Hfy4

Anton Kole
24th January, 2014 @ 04:25 pm PST

This sounds awesome! But I agree with Satweavers. I think it will cost a lot to keep it up to date. Technology changes really quickly and in order to keep people interested you have to change with it.

Still, I think I'd go to this park!

J.R.
13th February, 2014 @ 12:13 pm PST
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