In Case You Were Wondering…

January 11th, 2008at 11:16am Posted by Eli

Well, this is certainly good to know…

Ever wondered how much it would cost to build a working, life-sized Gundam robot? At least $725 million for the parts and materials, according to an estimate published on the SciencePortal website run by the Japan Science and Technology Agency. The price tag for this giant humanoid, which would stand 18 meters (60 feet) tall and weigh 43.4 metric tons (nearly 100,000 lbs), does not include the cost of labor (this is where an extensive pool of robot slave labor comes in handy), nor does it include the cost of the infrastructure needed to support the machine once you are ready to climb aboard and take it for a walk.


Note that unlike in the anime, the Gundam described here would merely be able to walk — it would not have the ability to fly or have any fancy weaponry. Also, instead of Gundanium, the robot would be covered in aluminum alloy plating.

An IBM Blue Gene supercomputer would serve as the Gundam’s computer system ($1.5 million sounds like a steal), and its movements would be driven by 30 giant 400KW motors — 12 in the legs, 2 in the torso, 14 in the arms, and 2 in the neck. A 400KW motor is quite powerful — by comparison, the Shinkansen bullet train uses a 300KW motor. The motors alone would cost $7.8 million, but to power them would require the equivalent of 7 Apache helicopter engines (the helicopters cost an estimated $52 million each).


A robot of this size and stature would face a number of physical challenges, such as the inability to walk without completely destroying the ground surface beneath its feet. When humans walk, we exert about 1.5 times our body weight of pressure on the ground (and on our feet) with each step. This poses a huge problem for a 43-ton humanoid, which would probably need to have very wide feet (to distribute the pressure over a larger area) and walk very very slowly. Dinosaurs found a way to get around, though, so giant robots probably can, too.

But perhaps the greatest challenge of all would be to find the funding for an enormous walking machine with no apparent practical or military application. With no money, this Gundam will forever remain just a dream.

[Source: SciencePortal]

I’ll set up a Paypal account. Anyone who contributes $1,000 or more gets a complimentary Gundam ride. Also, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on some cheap Gundanium…

Entry Filed under: Technology,Weirdness

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