You'll recall that on June 30 -- a date that undoubtedly will be celebrated by future generations as a national holiday -- American company MegaBots boldly challenged Japan to a giant-robot battle. Japan's Suidobashi Heavy Industry accepted, but promptly raised the stakes, demanding full-on hand-to-hand combat. Now MegaBots needs some help to make that happen.
The company, which specializes in creating giant piloted fighting robots, has launched a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to pay for upgrades to its 12,000-pound, 15-foot MegaBot Mark II. Sure, it can already fire 3-pound paint cannonballs at speeds of 100 miles per hour, but it needs more. This is America, after all!
MegaBots characterizes the Mark II, with its thin armor plates and mesh canopy, a "lightweight" robot that might not do so well in melee combat with Suidobashi's Kuratas, which boasts twin Gatling guns and a “hyper-advanced targeting system.” So the Mark II needs heavy armor, some serious firepower, increased speed (it now tops out at 2.5 mph) and, well, a sweet paint job. "While not strictly required," the campaign page notes of that last item, "this is a matter of national pride."
The $500,000 goal is the minimum required for an overhaul that would ensure the Mark II has the armor and the horsepower to go toe to toe against the Kuratas. At $750,000, the mecha would get an assortment of melee and ranged weapons (such as pneumatically driven fists with boxing gloves); at $1.25 million, MegaBots will be able to consult with NASA about life-safety systems in the robot's cockpit.
There are, naturally, a range of rewards to encourage pledges, but really, aren't we all doing this for America? The campaign has already generated more than $186,000 since its launch on Tuesday, meaning that $500,000 goal is within easy reach. However, if the Mark II doesn't roll out with those hydraulically driven fists, we will have failed our country.