Robots and 3D printing frequently go hand in hand…or claw. Remember MegaBots? A Kickstarter campaign last year successfully raised over $500,000 to upgrade the Mk.II, the giant fighting robot that the company built to take on Kuratas, the giant fighting robot from Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industries. That battle is expected to take place later this year, but in the meantime, you and your 3D printed mini robot, which you’ll have received if you pledged $150 or more to last year’s Kickstarter campaign, can cheer on Mk.II in the first-ever robots vs. drones race taking place at CES 2016 tomorrow.
XDC (Xtreme Drone Circuit) Racing is exactly what it sounds like – an organization that pits drones against each other in high-speed racing events. Tomorrow, on CES 2016’s last day, the drones will also be competing against America’s favorite giant battle robot. The event will be taking place at the Zappos corporate headquarters and will feature a 3D raceway, the details of which will be released to the competing pilots only moments before the race. You can see the rendering of the 3D course here:
MegaBots will also be competing in a less athletic, but equally Extreme! challenge later this afternoon. The Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) will consist of ten finalist tech startups, including MegaBots, presenting to a panel of judges in hopes of winning a large investment from billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson. Should MegaBots win, they will use the money to launch the MegaBot League, a sort of WWF for human-piloted robots.
“An entire generation grew up with these machine characters in video games and on movie and TV screens,” said MegaBots CEO Gui Cavalcanti. “We know people want to see this happen, and we know it may seem improbable and ridiculous, but that’s exactly what we do at MegaBots – we are building the sports league of the future, one epic robot at a time.”
The Extreme Tech Challenge will take place at 2pm Pacific Time in the Venetian Las Vegas. The ten semifinalists represent some of the fastest-growing fields in the tech industry, with smart devices, virtual reality and more than one robotics startup. Company missions include everything from targeted cancer treatment to, well, robot battles. Venture capitalist Bill Tai, who works with Branson to organize the competition, was impressed upon meeting Mk.II, and doesn’t doubt that MegaBots’ vision could become the next American phenomenon.
“Live sports entertainment is $17B+ per year with other forms of live entertainment $25B+ annually in revenue in the USA alone,” said Tai. “MegaBots has captured the public’s imagination to pioneer a new category. I was awestruck at the size and scale of the robot upon seeing it in person…Meeting the team in person gave me a lot of confidence that there is tremendous depth and expertise behind the product and company for the long term.”
Regardless of whether MegaBots makes it to the next round of the Extreme Tech Challenge, their future looks pretty bright. Who doesn’t love giant robot fights? The public will get a good preview of Mk.II’s capabilities tomorrow at 5pm Pacific Time, when the Xtreme Drone Circuit Racing challenge commences. Let’s hope its nemesis Kuratas is watching. Discuss this article in the MegaBots Forum thread on 3DPB.com.