From Movies to Reality, Japanese Artist Creates Giant 4-Ton Robot

Category: Media & Culture / Nov 28, 2012 12:00PM EDT
The 4-ton, 4-metre tall (13 feet) Kuratas robot, the creation of Kogoro Kurata, is as close to one can get to piloting a giant robot in real life. Kurata said the original inspiration simply came from him wanting to bring the robots in the movies, anime, and toys of his childhood to life. "The robots we saw in our generation were always big always had people riding them. So I don't think those have much meaning in the real world. But it was really my dream to ride in one of those giant robots, and I think that it's a kind of Japanese culture. I kept thinking that it's something that Japanese had to do," Kurata said. The robot is controlled from inside using a hand-held controller that allows the driver to move its arms, raise it up and down and drive it at a speed of up to 10 kilometres per hour (6.2 miles per hour), although it experienced technical problems when filmed by Reuters on Wednesday (November 28). While the current Kuratas is only a prototype, Kurata is taking orders through his site. Options available allow for customization of everything from the paint scheme, to fake weapons and cup holders. Kurata said he hopes to use the robot to jump-start others hoping to fulfill their dreams. "By my building this, I hope that it'll sort of be the trailblazer for people who can do more than myself to make different things. They might be be able to make a society that uses robots in a way I can't even imagine. I expect more from the implications of building it than from it itself," he said. The robot also has its own operating system which allows it to also be remotely-controlled from an iPhone. But before going out to pick one up, one should double-check their wallet as the base model alone comes in at around 110 million yen (approx. $1.3 million USD). Its price tag is indeed a bit of a setback, says Kuratas programmer Wataru Yoshizaki. "If indeed giant robots and cars are being sold at the same price, then I would, of course, choose the giant robot. At this point however, with the current price buying one Kuratas is still too much for me," he said. While Kurata said he has received thousands of inquiries about possible purchasing one of the robots, he said that he's also received a large number of cancellations. He also declined to give an exact number of people who have actually put money down for the giant robot.