This is like straight out of a sci-fi movie! The Japanese are slowly but surely getting an 18-meter Gundam robot to move. After the first attempts, it lifted its right leg, and even managed to move its body. The goal of the scientists is to teach it to walk, to move its hands and fingers. It's particularly important to get its fingers to move, so that it could show the world its fist or the so-called peace sign. It won't be long before we can visit the twenty-five-ton monster and look it straight in the eye.
The humanoid robot Gundam, modeled on the RX-78-2 Gundam mech from popular Japanese sci-fi anime series and movies, is getting ready to take its first steps. So far, it has only managed to raise its right leg and move its body several times during a test, but it should be able to walk and by the end of the year, becoming the main attraction of the upcoming theme park in Yokohama.
More robots of this kind have been created in Japan, such as this one's predecesor Unicorn Gundam in Odaiba, which, however, functions as a mere statue. Compared to the new version, its mobility is therefore considerably limited. The Yokohama mech will be the first to walk.
It wasn't easy to build. A video, where the giant is being finalized, has appeared on YouTube, and you'll also find there concepts from various designers, suggesting what the model should look like and whether it shouldn't be more modern. The engineers were restricted, among other things, by weight limits - the more the robot weighed, the more it would be prone to malfunction.
The inside of the robot consists of a solid steel frame, the outside is made of carbon fibers. Its movement is enabled by electric actuators, which receive signals from a computer and convert them into movement. At the beginning of the year, one of the project's partners, the JSK Lab research laboratory at the University of Tokyo, developed a simulator that scientists use to study various robotic movements. Its movements are connected to a mobile support system called Gundam Carrier and are controlled remotely.
The Gundam Factory Yokohama theme park, which will be the robot's home, also includes a laboratory where visitors can learn more about the history of the robot. The academy will broaden the knowledge gained at the laboratory by technical matters, such as the design or the movement mechanism of the Gundam robot. Visitors can also look forward to a conference room intended for various events, lectures, research presentations and workshops.
Gundam is expected to be open from October 2020 and only for one year, however, the date has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The website of Gundam Factory Yokohama state that for the same reason, a special demonstration event that had been scheduled for this month, was cancelled as well. There, visitors would have been able to take a peek at the secrets of the device, discover how the robot works and access a platform from which one could look the robot directly into the eyes.
Gundam is a metaseries of Japanese anime series owned by the company Sunrise. The word Gundam also refers to humanoid robots controlled by people. Gundam is usually an abbreviation, the meaning of which is slightly different in individual anime series.