A Real Life Transformer?

Japan’s working on robots for entertainment and emergencies!

If you’re a fan of Transformers, you’ll love Suidoubashi Heavy Industries’ new Kuratas robot. The jumbo toy currently on the market for about a million euros, is custom made for each of its owners. As both a vehicle and a robot, the Kuratas can be driven by the user seated in the robot’s cockpit. The giant bot may look pretty cool cruising down the street however it’s not the swiftest mode of transportation as its top speed is only about 10 km an hour.

Naturally, the Kuratas is far from being practical and it is solely intended for entertainment. Some may even be put off by several of the Kuratas’ weapon features. While the guns embedded in the bot are merely toys, there is something disturbing about the ┬Ęsmile feature┬Ęthat enables the firing of harmless pellets when it detects the user’s smile.

Whether you think the Kuratas is cool, creepy, or just plain over the top, it’s important to remember that robots can be much more than extravagant toys. A recent report by the BBC features the Kuratus and discusses Japan’s fascination with robots. Most of the report focusses on work being carried out at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), where robotocists have once again turned to nature for inspiration.

Profesor Shigeo Hirose started modeling some of their robots after snakes back in the 70′s. Their latest versions of these bots are being specially designed for use in disaster situations where they could help people trapped under buildings or enclosed in a tight spot.

Roboticists at Tokyo Tech are also working on an android that can swim, thanks to inspiration from dolphins. Micheal Phelps won’t have to step aside for this bot, it’s actually being developed to help professional athletes train. Check out the video HERE.

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