Me: One 13-foot-tall, 9,920-pound menacing robot that I can either ride and pilot with mere hand and body gestures from a cockpit, or control remotely with my 3G connection, please.
The Japanese: Coming right up. That will be 1.3 million dollars.
Kuratas, a massive, rideable battle mech designed by Kogoro Kurata is in the final stages leading up to public release--and online purchasing options!--by Suidobashi Heavy Industry. Having showcased the metal behemoth at Chiba's recent Wodner Festival, they anticipate sales to begin later in 2012. So. Why steal $1.3 million to acquire a Kuratas?
Add to its visual splendor that Kuratas will perform a multitude of user-controlled tricks. When inside the cockpit, directors can boss around the robot via motion sensor technology (i.e., Kinect) called MasterSlave. This includes activating The Smile Shot, a command which authorizes the release of artillery* at 6,000 bullets per minute from a twin gatling gun when the pilot smiles. Holy shit, can you imagine what Maverick and Goose would have done in a faceoff with the Russians riding in this thing? Equally phenomenal--and much safer, should the Kuratas ever be used in actual mechanized combat situations--an external control system allows users to manipulate their robots with a 3G connection by strapping an iPhone to a mini Kuratas' back, and moving and commanding the smaller version in whatever way they would like to see Big Poppa go.
In addition to the gatling gun, the Kuratas on-board weapons system includes a LOHAS launcher, which was designed to be eco-friendly(?!) and safe for humans. Suidobashi Heavy Industry notes that it will not hurt anyone, and cannot rotate or pivot. Quizzically, they add, "From time to time it will hit its target." I love the Japanese.
For better or worse, Kuratas is intended to be easy enough for any asshole to use. Meaning no professional training program should be necessary to learn how to manipulate and control it. That said, individual buyers who don't have nefarious intentions can customize their robot in nonviolent ways, such as replacing its bulleted gun with a high-power squirt gun to aid in fire safety, or arming it with a mop and vacuum and leading it through cleaning crusades.
The Kuratas body runs on gasoline and has a diesel engine. Its speed maxes out at around 6.2 mph. Upstairs, the robot employs a breakthrough operating system called V-Sido, which allows pilots to move its arms and torso with either an interior touch panel, the MasterSlave gesture functions, or remotely with 3G. Three ways to do things we used to think only possible in Transformers and Voltron cartoons. Geez, I sure hope the end of the world isn't really near, because there is so much more cool shit left to make its mark here.
*"Artillery" in the form of BBs. Which would still probably hurt like a mother.
Thanks to both Mike A. and David H. for the Kuratas tip. When I get mine, you'll be the first guests to take it for a test ride....