Megabots, Inc. has launched its Kickstarter campaign to raise half a million dollars for a major upgrade on its existing Mk.II — a 12,000 pound, 15 foot tall combat robot that fires cannonball-sized paintballs at 120 MPH . The upgrade derives from a challenge the Megabots made to Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industries for a giant combat robot duel, and Suidobashi accepted the challenge with the addition of one small detail. The American and Japanese robots will fight in a hand to hand melee combat. (Suidobashi created the first giant fighting robot, the Kuratas.) Yes, it’s true. They are now planning for this fight one year from now, and the Mk.II now requires modifications and upgrades, along with any other help it can get!
3D printing technology is constantly rearing its head in the world of robotics, and this Kickstarter campaign is no exception. As you scroll down the list of rewards in the campaign, you will see several tiers of giving that will get you something cool. For $5, your name can be listed on the Megabots, Inc. website. Double that and you get a Megabots sticker and your name on their site. Moving along, you can get rights to play the digital robotics game Robocraft — allowing you to steer the Mk.II yourself…sort of. You can also received an Mk.II poster, t-shirts, and stickers for $50 or more. But things get really interesting when, at the $150 mark, you get a 3D printed mini version of the Mk.II. That’s right. Your own mini version of the hand to hand giant combat robot that is about to make robotics history!
This small-scale replica of the real thing is a fine way to show your support for a project that is surely to move robotics to the next level while also providing education on all things robotics related. The 3D printed robot (see right and below) has blue and red arms, with stars on the front and sides of the arms, and flames on each side of the legs. It’s top part is made to look like a face, including eyes and teeth. There’s no better way to stay excited about the upcoming battle than to have your own 3D printed version gracing your desk?
I just spent time with two middle school children this morning explaining robotics and 3D printing to them: they were riveted. This first of its kind competition, which pulls in NASA, Autodesk, and a host of other robotics experts, will change the scope and scale of combat robotics forever. As Business Insider said about the project, “The next billion dollar sports league could be giant robots that fight to the death.” So American!
In the end, it may not really matter who wins or who loses, but how both robots play the game, right? The Megabots, Inc. Kickstarter campaign has raised $311,280 of the $500,000 it needs for all of the combat modifications required. You have 26 days left to save up for that $150 donation, so that you can have a 3D printed Mk.II and a little piece of robot history. Let us know if you plan on backing this project in the Mk.II MegaBots forum thread on 3DPB.com.