MegaBots Nabs Kickstarter Funding, Robot Battle To Come

Drones & Vehicles Metalworking Robotics Technology
MegaBots Nabs Kickstarter Funding, Robot Battle To Come
Matt Oehrlein (left) with co-founder Gui Cavalcanti. Photo: Nathan Hurst
Matt Oehrlein (left) with co-founder Gui Cavalcanti. Photo: Nathan Hurst

MegaBots rolled over its Kickstarter goal this week, nabbing $554,592 when the backing closed this morning. Thus we are on track to see the first ever real-life giant robot fight sometime next summer, versus Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s Kuratas, from Japan.

It was a win for the MegaBots team, which hasn’t disclosed its other revenue sources, but not as big a win as it could have been. Stretch goals like life safety systems and a dynamic balancing algorithm went unfunded, but according to co-founder Matt Oehrlein, MegaBots plans to try to work with the disclosed partners on lower-priced systems.

Now that the money’s in the bank, MegaBots has plenty of other issues to think about. The team has to design the battle, agree on the rules and weapons systems, and figuring out media partners. And they must find a location for the fight. “We have a pretty good lead,” says Oehrlein, “but I can’t disclose that yet.”

And that’s not to mention building and installing the upgrades enabled by the Kickstarter. The funding does include money for a new tread system in collaboration with tank builders Howe and Howe, so that will be a primary effort. The result, MegaBots hopes, will make the Mk. II, which is currently far slower than Kuratas, nearly twice as fast as its opponent.

It’ll be a long, complicated project.

“This is sort of the world telling us that they want us to realize their childhood dreams, so it’s really great to see the support from them,” says Oehrlein. “It’s a whole lot of validation.”

“That trust means a lot to us,” he adds, noting that the battle will be based on open communication between the teams, so that nobody is caught off guard. The focus is on entertainment, not strategy.

“The goal from both sides really is to make it a super entertaining fight, so we’ll be careful to make sure the rules of the fight and the designs of the robots allow for that,” says Oehrlein.

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Nathan Hurst is an editor at Make. He loves anything having to do with science or bicycling. He tweets as @nathanbhurst.

View more articles by Nathan Hurst


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