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Friday, May 05, 2017

Giant fighting robots? YES!

From the Daily Mail:

China's Monkey King robot will take on US and Japan | Daily Mail Online

What began as a gladiator-style robot duel has turned into an all-out war.

Chinese robotics company GREATMETAL is now the third competitor in the first giant robot battle of its kind – and the team has unveiled its massive ‘Monkey King’ to take on America's MK. II and Japan's Kuratas.

Monkey King is a single-seat machine that takes the form of a giant monkey, as it is capable of fighting while standing on two legs or on all fours.

Megabots, a California based robotics firm that developed MK. II, was originally conceived as a Kickstarter project to create a robot fighting league after it challenged Tokyo-based Suidobashi Heavy Industries, maker of the 13-foot Kuratas, in 2015 to the first giant robot battle of its kind – which is set to kick off in August 2017.

Win or lose, it's all part of MegaBots' plan by to make a real-life robot fight club into big-time entertainment – something the team see as a mix between Ultimate Fighting Championship and Formula One auto racing.

MegaBot also plans to develop new industrial technologies and inspiring a new generation of engineers along the way.

'Everyone wins as long as there is robot carnage,' MegaBots co-founder Matt Oehrlein, an electrical engineer, said last year regarding the announcement of the international robot duel.

'People want to see these things fight.'

'They want to see them punch each other, they want to see them ripped apart and they want to be entertained.'

The Mk. II MegaBot is a 15-foot tall, 12,000 pound robot capable of hurling 3 pound projectiles at speeds of over 130 mph.

Upon completion of the Mk. II, MegaBots challenged the only other known giant piloted robot in the world to a duel. 

But now a third competitor is setting into the ring.Although not much is known about China’s Monkey King, it is believed to be a worthy competitor.

The quadrupedal, single-seat machine takes on the form of a monkey and weighs more than 8,000 pounds (4 tonnes) – and a leaked video has suggested that the robot is equipped with a rotating head.
And its creator, Shiqian Sun, said it took about two months to complete to this point, New Atlas reported.

Although China is gearing up for battle, MegaBots is still deciding whether to allow the Monkey King to join the competition.

Over the past year and a half, MegaBots has been tirelessly working on a design that will stand up to Japan’s 9,000 pound robot.

The entire systems is run by the software IHMC has been writing.
And the team said they made sure it is able to communicate with all the components inside of the robot.

‘This process is called system integration,' said Oehrlein.

‘It’s kind of life setting up a home network and making sure that all the computers and devices and printers can talk to each other on that network.’

The team uses four 50-foot long, one inch hoses to hook up Mk. II to a track base in order to feed it with hydraulic power, which gets 4,000 psi and 120 gallons per minute. 

They also tested the robots massive arms by rolling both wrists and shoulders around, which gives the MegaBots crew enough confidence to move forward with the grab finale – lifting a car into the air.

MK. II is shown standing in front of a flatbed with a small compact car positioned on top.

The 16-foot robot extending its massive arms out and open its gigantic claws as it moved towards the compact car


Kuratas can be operated using a 'Master-Slave system' where users control the robot's movements from outside using any device with a 3G network.

It weighs 9,000 pounds and is controlled by a pilot in the cockpit or remotely using a smartphone or tablet.

They can also step inside the suit to control its movements in the same way as exoskeletons are used for fictional characters such as Iron Man.

Overall, the robot has around 30 hydraulic joints which the pilot moves using motion control. It comes in 16 colors, including black and pink.

Currently Kuratas is not capable of walking, but is able to drive at 6mph (10 km/h)
It can also be fitted with a futuristic weapons system, including a gun capable of shooting 6,000 BB bullets a minute, which fires when the pilot smiles.

'Automatic alignment allows you to lock on your enemy target. Kuratas will not allow any targets to escape,' the company writes.

'With the alignment set appropriately the system will fire BBs when the pilot smiles.'
Realizing that there may be a flaw with this system of opening fire, a video warns the pilot against smiling too much while operating the Kuratas weaponry.

However, there is another major caveat.

The robot is advertised as a kit, which means whoever buys it will also have to put it together. 

But MegaBot is confident in their choice of robot-slaying machines it has designed for the upcoming dual.

The giant robot dual came about after Oehrlein  'called out' Suidobashi in a YouTube video: 'We have a giant robot.'

'You have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen. We challenge you to a duel.'

Suidobashi's founder Kogoro Kurata accepted in his own video: 'We can't let another country win this. Giant robots are Japanese culture. Yeah, I'll fight. Absolutely.'

Kurata also taunted the MegaBots team: 'Come on guys, make it cooler. Just building something huge and sticking guns on it, it's super American.'

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