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  • [JAPAN] Life-size RX-78-2 Gundam might walk by 2019 thanks to the Gundam Global Project

    Last year, The Gundam Global Challenge shocked everyone by announcing that they are planning to make the life-size RX-78-2 mobile. Now, the project’s official website has announced that the initial phase is over, and that the second open submission phase has now officially begun!

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    For the second open submission phase, fans are encouraged to share their ideas for the operation of the moving 1:1 scale RX-78-2 Gundam. Entries for this second phase will be closed on 29 February 2016, and this is not only open to people in Japan, but the rest of the world.

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    Four applicants have recently been accepted for their ideas which they presented for the first phase of the project. Three of them are from Japan, and one from Taiwan, and they are Yuya Kaneko, Ming-Hsun Chiang, Yoshimitsu Kihara, and Kei Okada. Here were the ideas they presented and were accepted by the committee:

    Yuya Kaneko:

    When I heard that a full-scale Gundam has to move, I assumed that both Gundam fans and non-Gundam fans would expect the robot to move autonomously. However, achieving autonomous motion of an 18m tall humanoid robot remains a serious research challenge.

    I thought of Gundam and Zaku in a gappuri-yotsu sumo grappling pose thereby effectively creating a single quadruped robot that moves autonomously without any support other than that of their four legs. Since quadrupedal movement can ensure that three-point support can be maintained at all times, it enables more stable motion than bipedal movement.

    Many fans have high-hopes for the creation of a full-scale Zaku, like the Gundam, and I think seeing Gundam and Zaku grappling with each other will be very impressive and I expect it will make for a dramatically compelling piece of entertainment.

    Ming-Hsun Chiang:

    ― From the point of stiffness:
    The gravity torque due to the super-size body can easily exceed the physical limits of the actuators.
    ― From the point of energy consumption:
    Since the traditional bipedal walking (knee bent walking) is 16 times less efficient than humans, it is very difficult to utilize the traditional way to drive such a large system.
    ― Solution:
    A new type mechanism of humanoid robot and relevant process flow of gait were proposed.
    ― From the point of safety:
    Any unexpected ground conditions may make the 18 meters height system fall down.
    ― Solution:
    Not only the mature technology of electronic control must be considered, but also the self-adaptive mechanism should be utilized to deal with the initial position of the foot-ground contact. The self-adaptive mechanism is now being developed.

    Yoshimitsu Kihara:

    Equipping a drive mechanism, control unit, power, and power source etc., to the 18m tall real-scale Gundam is incredibly difficult because of the weight problem. The key to realizing a walking full-scale GUNDAM hangs on making it as light as possible.

    With that in mind, I am proposing an “Externally Powered, Light-Weight GUNDAM Independent Walking System” using light-weight armor, in which as many mechanisms and drive units as possible are placed outside of the GUNDAM.

    Kei Okada:

    The point of this project is to offer the excitement of moving “that GUNDAM” with software you wrote yourself.
    Create a software and hardware robot platform using the present MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM, and inspire the world’s young to engage in development, accelerating and advancing the realization of a “REAL GUNDAM”, by making it open source

    The Gundam Global Challenge selection committee is made up of some very big names, including Gundam series creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino.

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    The project aims to make the Gundam move by 2019, which is the 40th anniversary of Sunrise’s legendary mecha anime franchise, and a road map has already been made last year. Based on the timeline, it seems that things are going smoothly. Hopefully, by 2019, we really do get to see the life-size RX-78-2 move!

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    Source: Gundam Global Challenge official


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