Robotics

Megabots: Paintball with giant robots

The Mark I MegaBot prototype
The Mark I MegaBot prototype
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A MegaBall 3 lb paint-filled cannonball
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A MegaBall 3 lb paint-filled cannonball
Prototype missile launcher emplacement
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Prototype missile launcher emplacement
To-scale concept art of a MegaBot
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To-scale concept art of a MegaBot
The Mark I MegaBot prototype
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The Mark I MegaBot prototype
The MegaBot prototype and turret
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The MegaBot prototype and turret
The MegaBots team has pledged to build and sell a custom robot for US$999,999.99
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The MegaBots team has pledged to build and sell a custom robot for US$999,999.99
Artist's concept of a giant robot combat arena
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Artist's concept of a giant robot combat arena

Who hasn't looked at a sporting event and thought that it would be better if it involved giant robots wailing on each other? That seems to be the thinking of the people behind the MegaBots Kickstarter campaign, who are raising money to build giant humanoid robots with human drivers to take on each other in paintball arena games.

A MegaBot is the sort of robot that stands out in a crowd. Run by a driver-and-gunner team, the 15-ft (4.5-m) tall walking robot weighs 15,000 lb (6,800 kg) and has modular arms tipped with pneumatic guns firing 3-lb (1.3-kg) paint MegaBalls at 120 mph (193 km/h). According to the makers, it’s clad in customizable breakaway armor plating that flies off when it takes a hit while, like a videogame, a computer keeps track of "damage" and makes the robot eject limbs, limp, make noise, and jam its weapons as the hits mount.

This giant machine is the center of a Kickstarter campaign by "20 engineers, scientists, designers, artists, fabricators, and producers" to raise US$1.8 million to construct two MegaBots. The team is currently working on the prototypes and final design and has constructed a prototype upper body and arm, as well as a prototype gun emplacement and two weapon system as technology demonstrators. According to the team, this involves developing battery-powered miniature electro-hydraulic power plants, giant paintball ammunition, bespoke air cannons, and walking algorithms to allow the two-legged machines to negotiate an obstacle course.

To-scale concept art of a MegaBot
To-scale concept art of a MegaBot

The whole point of this isn't just to have a digital game character come to life, but to form the basis for a new sport. The MegaBots organizers envision a new sports league with MegaBots facing off against one another in full-blown giant robot tournaments with the human-piloted machines fighting against other MegaBots, vehicles, obstacles, and other adversaries.

The somewhat ambitious people behind MegaBots say that the first tournament will take place in May of 2016 in the continental United States. Beyond that, details are a bit sketchy. If more money is available, more robots would be built for more complex tournaments, such as team death matches and king of the hill.

The MegaBots team has even pledged to build and sell a custom robot for US$999,999.99, with a choice of colors, cupholders, heated seats, and residential delivery in the US (except for Hawaii or Alaska).

The Kickstarter runs through November 28 and, if all goes to plan, shipping of pledge rewards is set to start in February 2015.

The video below shows a MegaBot prototype versus a junk car.

Sources: MegaBots, Kickstarter

Real Life Mech Prototype Destroys Junk Car

6 comments
Jay Finke
Yes. I like it, but is it street legal ?
Bob Flint
This is how "Real Steel" started.
Gaëtan Mahon
This is so not going to happen. The best I'm expect to see is a Torso not further developed like what I just saw in the Video with either fixed Legs on tracks "walking" like a Cross-country skier or just tracks. At least I give them a B for effort in getting the Lead Artist of MechWarrior Online to make their Artworks. Still impressed to see his stuff even if the actual Game is a huge F2P Rip-Off.
MattII
About the only sort of 'war' humanoid mechs should ever get involved in.
Cdv Ambion
If they wanna pick a fight? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iZ0WuNvHr8 The japanese have the Kuratas Robot... Roughly the same size... THEY SHOULD FIGHT!
Ferraro_Robots
Yeah, this will not be as exciting as people think it will be. The robots will be slow and clumsy and they'll end up just standing still shooting at each other....that would be if it gets funded, which it won't. Their kickstarter video so cheesy and salesman-like. Two of those guys were on the big brain theory reality show on discovery channel, I'm thinking this is a bad publicity stunt.
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