courtesy nypost.com and Reuters

We’re not anime fans, but Japanese engineer Masaaki Nagumo apparently is. The engineer is enough of one, in fact, that he’s spent a fair amount of time and his employer’s money (he works for Sakakibara Kikai, a farm equipment maker) to build himself a Mobile Suit Gundam-style robot called Mononofu.

“I think this can be turned into a business opportunity,” Nagumo, 44, told Reuters, noting the popularity of the iconic series that has spawned movies, manga, video games and more.

Sakakibara Kikai has developed other robots and amusement machines alongside its main agriculture equipment business and rents them out for about $930 an hour, for kids’ birthday parties and other entertainment, he said.

The behemoth is controlled by a driver who sits in a cockpit, pulling levers and turning knobs.

It can move its fingers and turn its upper body and walk forward and backward. It is no speedster, however, moving at less than 1 kilometer per hour, which is about half a mile per hour.

And because a 28-foot tall human-controlled suit isn’t much fun if all it does is walk around, Masaaki armed the thing.

But what it lacks in pace, it makes up for with power: the bazooka-like air gun on its right arm shoots sponge balls at around 87 miles per hour.

Just for comparison’s sake, your average Nerf gun launches its foam projectiles at about 35 mph. But there’s no reason Mononofu can’t be armed with something more powerful.

It likely won’t be long before these things can be remotely controlled, drone-style, by someone sitting at a computer somewhere. That way, when Mothra descends on Tokyo, Mononofu will be able to go up against the giant flying insect without risking the driver.

And could autonomous control be far behind?

 

31 COMMENTS

  1. Mononofu is an alternate, generally archaic, reading of 武士 (Samurai).

    “But there’s no reason Mononofu can’t be armed with something more powerful.”

    Well aside from the laws of Japan. Even in the US you’d have problems with Emperor Roosevelt’s anti-freedom legacy and his ban on “destructive devices”.

    • As long as these robots are not sold to anyone under 21 and there is a three day waiting period, I’m fine with them.

      • Flinch, you’re a murderbot FUDD! Sure they all say they wont take our 40-foot power armor suits, but your support for waiting periods and age restrictions are a slippery slope toward the FBI coming to our houses and taking our ED-209’s and EDI’s! /s/

    • Legal problems: On paper…yes.

      If you built and armed one appropriately, there’s not much they could do to stop you. A recoilless rifle and a mini gun should be enough for most uses.

    • There are even laws limiting the power of airsoft guns, which makes this thing and other “armed” robots kinda boring in Japan. Maybe give it a giant riot baton like they used in Patlabor.

      In America, the best armament you could get without registered machineguns or cannons would probably be a pair or 2 of semi-auto M240s set up with solenoid triggers.

  2. It’s too tall. Too lightly armored. One grunt with a LAWS would put ‘The End’ on the drivers medical records.

    • 2+ Million thumbs up!
      “News flash: New Government/Law Enforcement tool. New Robotic Police assistants for the execution of High Risk Protection Orders and The Robotic Police Commandos of the Gun 🔫 Confiscation Squad…”

    • No you don’t. It’s bad. Really bad. Mind bleach required bad.

      The writers have zero clue about intellectual consistency and wrote characters with massive self-contradictions. “Idiocracy” is a better movie. Heck, Aahnold’s Conan is better. Can you tell that I wish there was such a thing as mind bleach?

      (I’m talking about the 2014 version. The original one starring Peter Weller is at least tolerable.)

  3. Children’s birthday parties? Thinking the parents aren’t going to be happy with screaming kids who have nightmares into their teens.

  4. The future is robotics. One concern I have is when the human soldier ( cannon fodder) is took out of the equation. …. On a brite note, I’ve wrapped copper wire around my tin foil hat and I feel extra safe, it’s like a class VI body armor for microwaves.

  5. If I’m going to be inside mobile armor much bigger than me, I want it to have treads. There is a reason tanks don’t walk.

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