Japan’s Tsubame Industries unveils $3 million ‘Gundam’-like robot

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A dream come true for anime fans

Tokyo-based start-up Tsubame Industries has developed a 4.5-meter-tall, four-wheeled robot that looks like “Mobile Suit Gundam” from the wildly popular Japanese animation series, and it can be yours for $3 million. The robot, called ARCHAX, is inspired by the avian dinosaur archaeopteryx and has two modes: the upright ‘robot mode’ and a ‘vehicle mode’ in which it can travel up to 10 km per hour. The robot has cockpit monitors that receive images from cameras hooked up to the exterior so that the pilot can manoeuvre the arms and hands with joysticks from inside its torso. The robot is a dream come true for anime fans who grew up watching the iconic mecha series.

A product that says ‘This is Japan’

The robot was created by Ryo Yoshida, the 25-year-old chief executive of Tsubame Industries, who said he wanted to create something that showcases Japan’s strengths in animation, games, robots and automobiles. “Japan is very good at these things so I thought it would be great if I could create a product that compressed all these elements into one,” he said.

Japan’s Tsubame Industries unveils $3 million

“I wanted to create something that says, ‘This is Japan’.” Yoshida plans to build and sell five of the machines for the well-heeled robot fan, but hopes the robot could one day be used for disaster relief or in the space industry.

A passion for manufacturing

Yoshida became interested in manufacturing at an early age, learning how to weld at his grandfather’s ironworks and then going on to found a company that produces myoelectric prosthetic hands. He said he is eager to keep Japan’s competitive edge in manufacturing alive. “I hope to learn from previous generations and carry on the tradition,” he said. The robot, which weighs 3.5 tons, will be unveiled at the Japan Mobility Show later this month, where it is expected to attract a lot of attention and admiration.

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