30 June 2012
Japanese politicians consider developing Gundam?
Image from Robot Watch
A number of politicians from Liberal Democratic Party are considering to develop a life-size and functional Gundam, and had held a NicoLive broadcast on this discussion on 28th June, with Fukui Harutoshi (author of Gundam UC novel) making a guest appearance.
... But just how viable is this development will be?
According to a research by SciencePortal way back in 2008, the cost for material and parts on building a robot of such size will already be 79521 million Yen, or approximately 725 million USD for the time according to pink tentacle. This only considers the mecha to be able to walk, and anything close to jumping or flying is out of the question. Building or maintenance cost is not mentioned.
Picture of 1/1 Gundam statue from my visit in Odaiba back in 2009
Realising the immpractical nature of a giant walking meccha for military or and the immaturity of technology for other applicable uses (such as civil engineering), it turns out that as Japanese media stated that the purpose of developing a Gundam that can walk is for tourism purpose, where materialisation of such dream can be the "killer content" for Japan's tourism features.
Allowing the Gundam of such size and of great weight to walk will be a big challenge, and not the least to mention the power required to move it, which is another question that is discussed.
As for financial issue, this proposed Gundam development will not be funded by tax, but by private sectors as well as from donations in order to promote a culture of fund-raising.
All in all, will this worth the money? While a walking Gundam sounds interesting, personally I am already happy with the 1/1 Gundam as an immobile statue, even if it is a temporary display (as it is right now in Odaiba for Gundam Front Tokyo project). I'm a little surprised that there are politicians that would seriously consider it. Some argue that making robots for other services such as rescue will be a money better spent. What do you think of this?