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MegaBots Prepare for Mecha Melee with a New Video Series

Posted by Jessica Uelmen on September 14, 2016

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Unbeknownst to many, two countries are gearing for a battle of legendary proportions. For the first time in history, two giant mechs will face-off in a duel for mechanical greatness. The challenger, representing the good ol’ US of A: MegaBots Inc. The opponent, representing Mecha-Mecca Japan: Suidobashi Heavy Industries.

Though the road to victory is no easy path to travel. Announced today, MegaBots plans to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the process. The initial promotional footage teases a combination of Mythbusters construction and Battle Bots destruction. Feast your eyes on the first trailer above.

megabots mk2

Concept art for Megabots’ Mk2 melee mech.

The road to Mecha melee began in 2015, when MegaBots issued their challenge to Suidobashi Heavy Industries. Suidobashi took up the gauntlet with sardonic enthusiasm, and both teams set to work.

MegaBots Inc. went straight to Kickstarter, raising over $550k to upgrade their machine, the Mk2. Since their successful funding, the team has grown from a full-time staff of 3 to 12. They’ve also raised an extra $3.85M in funding to start a giant robot combat league after the duel.

The whole story is quintessential America. Issue a challenge, publicize the build, and secure funding for later fights. But is their confidence overstated? After all, who could stand to compete against a country who defined “Mecha”? From Mobile Suit Gundam to Big OVoltron to Kuromukuro, giant robots are almost synonymous with Japanese culture. A US victory almost seems an impossibility, David facing off against Goliath. It will be amazing to watch the MegaBots team rise to this challenge.

The first episode of the video series airs September 28, with episodes following on a 10-14 day cadence. MegaBots will be chronicling their entire journey in full. From the press release:

The video series follows the MegaBots team as they destructively test the Mk2 robot, work with high-end technical partners such as Howe & Howe Technologies and IHMC Robotics on robot subsystems, study human combat techniques and physiology, test potential weapon systems against simulated opponents, and generally design, build and test Team USA’s contender in the Giant Robot Duel.

Building a giant combat robot is not without challenges, as we’ll see through the series. According to Megabots co-founder and CEO Gui Cavalcanti, “The biggest design challenge of any robot, very much including ours, is systems integration. It’s getting the dozens of sensors, actuators, and valves working together across the thousands of wires and hundreds of hoses. Our biggest challenge is making all of those bits and pieces work together.”

This might not sound enthralling. “Systems integration” is often a term that invokes narcolepsy. But in a robot so large, boasting 350 horsepower, failure can have disastrous consequences. (Just think of all the trouble those exploding Galaxy Note 7’s are causing.)

Due to strict NDAs between companies, a final date and time have yet to be set for the battle. Though Cavalcanti isn’t worried about the video series leaking secrets to their opponent. All episodes will air “well after” Suidobashi is able to make any changes to their design. Of course, the team also has a few surprises that won’t air, either.

Here’s hoping Cavalcanti’s comments hint at a duel date that’s sooner rather than later. The Giant Robot Duel is bound for the history books, and fans wait with bated breath.

At least we’ll have something to whet our appetites.

In the meantime, check out Nerdy Show‘s interview with Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlei at the launch of this historic endeavor.

 

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About Jessica Uelmen

Jess is just your average cat-herding, world-traveling, tech-loving otaku. She'll brazenly defend her love of Harry Potter and Sailor Moon to any who challenge it, and can usually be found under a stack of unread books and graphic novels.

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