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It was reported in July that two giant fighting robots – one American and one Japanese – were to face off against each other next year. One condition the Japanese Suidobashi Heavy Industries team insisted on was for the fight to be hand-to-hand only. This led to Boston-based company Megabots launching a kickstarter campaign in order to upgrade its machine in preparation for the melee battle – and it's just reached the $500,000 funding target.
The USA’s Megabot Mark 2 fighting robot was designed for long range paintball fights. Its thin armour plates and mesh canopy meant it would struggle against the much faster and more advanced Japanese Kuratas. By reaching the half a million dollar target, Megabots can now seriously overhaul its machine by adding new weapons systems, a custom track base, upgraded hydraulics, a new power unit and shock-mounted steel armor that can withstand multi-ton punches.
At the time of writing, there are still 50 hours of the campaign left. Megabots will likely be hoping a late donating spree will help it reach the next funding level; at $750,000, the Mark 2 will be kitted out with an array of weapons that include crushing and grasping claws, pile drivers, pneumatically driven fists, and shields.
In the unlikely event that the campaign reaches a million dollars, Megabots will add a dynamic balancing algorithm to the Mark 2 to keep the robot upright during battle. Hitting $1.25 million would see a NASA-designed life safety system integrating into the cockpit, while the top target of $1.5 million would pay for a “Hollywood-level paint job” from FonCo creative services.
Lower end rewards for backers include having their names published on the website, stickers, posters and 3D printed miniature Mark 2s. Those wishing to donate larger sums get invited to demo days, receive VIP access, get to ride in the Mark 2, and can join the pit crew at the duel itself – should they wish to spend $10,000 on the top tier reward (which are now all gone).
Now that the Kickstarter is funded, fans of battling giant robots can look forward to seeing the clash sometime in 2016, where the national pride of both nations will be at stake.