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Gears, Guts & Glory: Can Giant Fighting Robots Save American Manufacturing?

Oct. 7, 2016
MegaBots’ small team team has a lot of personality, bigger brainpower, and a 10-ton fighting robot. These are the perfect tools to start a giant fighting robot league, and possibly revive American manufacturing along the way.

With a penchant for wearing Aviators and draping themselves in Old Glory, Megabots, Inc. co-founders Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein's public personas scream brash, unflinching American bravado. That's by design, of course. Why build a 16-ft tall, 10-ton, two-seater robot tank if you don't have some swagger?

And why build a giant robot with cannons for arms and Caterpillar treads for feet if you're not going to put them to good use trying to demolish someone else's iron giant?

So in this instance, it made perfect sense for Cavalcanti and Oehrlein to dress like Apollo Creed and challenge the only other robot of its kind:the Japan-based Suidobashi Heavy Industries' Kuratas, to an epic fight.

In a YouTube video posted in June 2015, the pair outline the details for the fight:

"We have a giant robot, you have a giant robot. You know what needs to happen," says a deadpan Oehrlein, a former Eaton electrical engineer. "We challenge you to a duel."

The Competition

​Kuratas looks like it just rolled off some futuristic dictator's assembly line. In actuality, the 5-ton, 13-ft-tall single seater was made in 2012 by Kogoru Kurata.

The Japanese roboticist intended to sell Kuratas for about $1.35 million each, according to The Verge. Even the 3,000 people who placed orders thought it was joke, and none were honored.

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