We All Need To Calm Down About This USA Vs Japan Robot Duel

We All Need To Calm Down About This USA Vs Japan Robot Duel

OK, internet. Everyone just needs to simmah down, now. I know we’re all excited about the supposedly looming international giant robot duel between America and Japan. I am too. But! We should also be wary. Patient. Because it miiiight not be as cool as we think.

Here’s the genesis of the chrome-shredding showdown that’s hopefully, actually, maybe happening: US-based MegaBots and Japan-based Suidobashi Heavy Industries both have huge human-piloted robots. MegaBot Mark II and Kuratas, respectively. The former is 4.6m tall and 5400kg; the other, 4m and 3600kg.

Last week, MegaBots challenged Suidobashi Heavy to a duel. Boom! What happened next? This week, Suidobashi accepted. The internet goes wild! International media outlets, subreddits, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts flood with hype.

And yet, this fight, which will apparently happen a year from now, might just be only that: hype.

The battle itself isn’t going to be anything out of a big-budget Hollywood popcorn flick. But, even so, it’s a cyberpunk’s dream come true, and nowadays, fighting mechas are far from science fiction.

“A robot duel is definitely feasible, and I expect it to be visually appealing,” says Clark Haynes, a commercialisation specialist at the Robotics Institute’s National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University. He was also the software lead for the NREC team that finished third in last month’s It’s not that I don’t want this to happen. I definitely want it to happen. I’m just saying, the coolness, and reality, of this event are contingent upon many things. Technology, time, money, logistics.

So, what do I suggest? MegaBots and Suidobashi need to stay on track, follow through, and actually make this duel happen. They should keep all these new fans updated every step of the way, kind of like a successful Kickstarter campaign should. Seriously, is there a newsletter I can subscribe to? What will the rules be and who will decide them? Where will it take place and how much will it cost? Will both teams be actively improving their robots leading up to the duel?

But hey! If giant Pacific Rim-style death matches are what get people interested in robots, I shouldn’t be complaining. Haynes agrees.

“Robots in pop culture set the bar very high compared to what is possible with today’s technology,” he says. “It’s the hope, of course, that competitions like this one will keep the public engaged and help build excitement about the many cool things that robots can do, including entertain us.”

And so, I remain cautiously excited. As long as this doesn’t end up being vapourware, I’ll be the first one streaming it, popcorn in hand, big stupid grin on my face.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

It’s the most popular NBN speed in Australia for a reason. Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.