Here at GeekTech, we cover a lot of advanced robots, but what we really want to see is progress in the exoskeleton front (think Iron Man suit). Meet Vaudeville (sometimes called Kuratasu), a 12-foot-tall, five-ton mech that you can get inside of and control like a real Mobile Suit.
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Vaudeville is a creation of Suidobashi Heavy Industry, a Japanese mecha building enthusiast group made up of a Kogoro Kurata, Wataru Yoshizaki and Yuke Kitani. Vaudeville looks something straight out of a Japanese anime with a bulking body, tiny head, and a crazy looking mobile platform. But it really works, and you can jump into its torso to control it. The whole thing carts around on four-legs with wheels (like a Tachikoma from Ghost in the Shell), and it's powered by a diesel engine that's also located in its torso.
It might seem like you would incredible number of button, switches, and levers just to turn it on--but to the contrary it is really quite simple. The control interface uses a smartphone running V-SIDO software and uses a set of joysticks to control the arms. It also uses Microsoft Kinect head-tracking to rotate the torso and cockpit.
As for the mech's weapon systems, it won't be carrying anything lethal. The only things that Vaudeville will have on board are a water gun and a fully articulated five-finger hand that can easily crush cardboard boxes.
Suidobashi Heavy Industry expects to finish Vaudeville sometime later this year, after which the builders plan to sell it on the open mech market.
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This story, "Coming soon: a 12-foot-tall robot you can ride and steer" was originally published by PCWorld.