Tokyo startup creates Gundam-style robot suit

Inspired by the popular 70s anime Mobile Suit Gundam, the towering robot Archax can be yours for $3 million.

Developed by Tokyo-based mechanics company Tsubame Industries, the robot stands at 4.5 meters (14.8 feet) tall and weighs 3.5 tons – almost as much as a giraffe in height and twice as heavy.

It’s named after archaeopteryx, an avian dinosaur, and can change between an upright “robot mode” and a hunched “vehicle mode” that can move around at speeds of up to 10 km/h.

A cockpit, nestled within the robot’s chest, provides a futuristic piloting experience through a multi-display setup, fed by nine onboard cameras.

Operators can control Archax using two joysticks, two pedals, and a touch panel. An alternative remote operation feature is also available, but subject to restrictions.

The robot is a real-life “mecha,” a Japanese term and science fiction genre describing giant robots or machines that are often piloted by humans, as seen in Mobile Suit Gundam.

Ryo Yoshida, the 25-year-old chief executive of Tsubame Industries, told Reuters that he wanted to create something that says, “This is Japan.”

Yoshida said: "Japan is very good at animation, games, robots, and automobiles so I thought it would be great if I could create a product that compressed all these elements into one.”

Tsubame Industries plans to debut Archax at the Japan Mobility Show later in October. It plans to sell five units – but at a price tag of almost $3 million, only the most well-off robot fans will afford it.

The company said it hoped Archax could one day be also used in space exploration and disaster relief.

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