CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 29, 2016

So This is How You Destroy a Giant Robot

www.newequipment.com: With the new web series launched on Wednesday, MegaBots, Inc., the upstart engineering team building a 16-ft tall, 10-ton fighting mech to fight a giant Japanese piloted robot, we finally get to see what these mad mechatronic scientists been doing this past year.

After releasing a video in June 2015 challenging Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas to a fight, and then another asking Kickstarter backers for money in August 2015, not much info had come out of MegaBots' Oakland headquarters, now dubbed Fortress One.

8 comments:

Emma Reichard said...

I am amazed that I did not hear more about this! A web-series chronicling a quest to create an epic robot, with the conclusion being a robot battle? That sounds more interesting than half of what is on TV right now. And the idea that a kickstart organization could create something strong enough to go up against a well-established and well-funded piece of engineering is also really cool. I watched the first episode a couple of times, and something that really struck me was its emphasis on explanation. At first glance it seems like a cool concept with great cinematography and some action shots, but the engineers take a lot of time to break down scientific concepts they are utilizing. It’s a really great way to get people invested in STEM concepts, and engage with both young children and adults alike. I will definitely be following this web series, and hope to see more from MegaBots Inc.

noah hull said...

While I think this episode was well made, informative, and interesting I think the Mythbusters comparisons are a little premature. At least in terms of what the first episode was, in terms of what we saw. Yes, they explained things but they didn’t really do it that thoroughly. There was nothing about what would be considered a safe result, and not really that much about the results they got beyond, its incredibly lethal. This may well be because of the short length of the video (in the future it would be fantastic if these were longer). But regardless of the cause it had the unfortunate effect of making it look like they were trying to choose between giving us science and stunning spectacle and had to fall a little short on both to fit time constraints. This is not me attempting to say the video was bad or that their intentions behind it (attempting to inspire people to pursue STEM fields and be entertaining) are bad. Just that the current format may not be the right one, especially if the Mythbusters model is what they’re aiming for.

Monica Skrzypczak said...

I have one question. Did they paint it to look like it had already been through bunch of battles or dod they just find old materials? Really it doesn't matter because this thing looks badass. It’s like some crazy sci-fi/ comic book craziness come to life. The fact that they hit the robot so many times without knocking it over is pretty amazing and speaks to their engineering abilities. However, the tests weren’t as all inclusive as I wanted them to be. They only tested for pressure in two spots, meaning they were simply testing for concussions, which doesn't necessarily mean they were testing for broken bones. And when they shot the first paint cannon it completely destroyed the gate and probably shattered the dummies knees beyond repair not to mention all the other bones that probably would’ve broken when it bounced a round before coming out the top. Overall, it was a really interesting watch but I wanted them to take it further. And if they decide to take it to Mythbuster levels with longer episodes maybe they will get there.

Angel Zhou said...

This was a very engaging article and video, but the title of the article was incredibly misleading. The video and article were not about how to destroy a robot—the video was about the ways in which to test a robot’s sustainability and the article was about explaining the influences behind the video. I do take some pause, though, since the article mentioned that one of the influences of the video was to inspire kids to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). However, the video heavily focuses on the male contributions to the project, making the opening scene purely a man’s production and only bringing out two females throughout the entire video. They also just had the females stand there and not move, rather than make a reasonable contribution—this only magnifies the issue of underrepresentation of females in STEM. I’m not asking them to misrepresent the contributions that different people made to their project, I just hope that in the future they can recognize the issue of gender inequality and bring in some enthusiastic, nerdy females to become main contributors on their projects.

Chris Norville said...

Giant Robots. That’s cool. More and more, everything is just scenery isnt it? I like what was said in the article about having something that can permeate the culture to inspire a new generation to pursue STEM careers. What engineers and scientists do is not boring by any stretch of the imagination, of which we have plenty. Happiness is the opportunity to do work worth doing. I don’t think I could ask for more worthwhile work than being able to solve problems in a rigorous and exact manner every day. It is sad to me when someone’s goal is to do the least necessary to get by, to shoot for the lowest bar. How could that every be satisfying in any fashion? If you have never known the satisfaction of being right in a quantifiable manner and then seeing your idea come to fruition, then you really need to think about being an engineer.

jcmertz said...

I am very happy that something is finally coming of this project, and I hope it continues. The initial challenge was so cool and the internet responded big time, but the radio silence since then had left them as the butt of a joke. "Hey remember when we were all momentarily convinced that giant robot fighting was almost here?" If they can keep this webseries going though, and actually find a market for it as an educational enterprise, this could actually happen. I'd be very surprised if they aren't already in talks with Discovery Channel. I wonder if they are hiring...

Ruth Pace said...

I'd just like to draw everyone's attention to the fact that, around 3:03, one of the makers of this video can be observed placing a cannonball in a cannon chute using a mop handle. If that's not the most summer stock thing I've seen today, I don't know what is.
All jokes aside, this video was truly enlightening. I've never considered myself a fighting robot person. This video/article, however, balances the right amount of stimulated mechanized violence with the science behind the tests being run on this 10-ton bi-pedal behemoth. While this video contains no robot-on-robot violence, I still managed to get invested in the various tests being run on the structure and pilot capsule of the robot. In addition to hearing a little bit about what I'm sure is some really cool physics, I got an entire 7.5 minute video dedicated to reasons i will never ever be a battle robot operator. I think I honestly felt chills every time the protective mesh grating ruptured, and will be very invested in seeing what changes end up being made to the operating chamber of this machine to ensure nobody dies in the process.

Evan Smith said...

It doesn’t take much to fulfill a dream of watching robots fight. You’ve always seen robots fighting in movies, but with enhanced cgi and other computer graphics, what we have isn’t quite as futuristic as that. Some parts don’t quite have the kinks worked out yet, but I’m sure that time will come in the future. To be able to see a project through and then know you’re going to go head to head with someone who has basically done the same thing and go to fight, that’s like waking up Christmas morning with butterflies in your stomach because you hope you get what you wished for. In this case a victory when it is all said and done. I had a slight intrigue with robots growing up, but it never stuck with me, or course the industry of robotics is constantly growing with how they can be improved, when will we be satisfied? Maybe never.

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