Did you ever say to yourself, “Someday, when I’m older, I’ll do/make/go to ______ (insert activity here)?” Well,this senior citizen from Ibaraki Prefecture took this vow to heart, and when he turned 50, he started working on what he really wanted to do: build a giant robot on his own. Eleven years later, he has fulfilled his dream and is bringing around his creation to inspire others and delight children (and adults too!).
67-year-old Hitoshi Takahashi owns a machine shop in Ibaraki and one of the cities there, Tsukuba, is home to a lot of engineering colleges and scientific research centers. This may have inspired him to plan and build his dream giant robot, which he named Kabutom RX-03, an 11 meter (36 foot) long and 3.6 meter (12 foot) high incredible contraption. The 17-ton machine is named after a kind of Japanese beetle, and is not just for display, but is actually powered by two diesel-burning engines. He started building it in 1997 when he turned 50, and because he wanted to do it all by himself, it took him eleven years to complete, working on the side while still doing his regular day-to-day job.
The robot maintains its beetle motif with a signature horn and wings that open from the back, and is made up of more than 30 moving parts. But unlike its namesake, the robot can shoot smoke from its head, adding to its cool factor. Unfortunately, it can’t fly, but it can move its six legs up to 4 kilometers per hour. But the coolest bit is that people can actually ride and control the robot, accommodating as many as seven, with one person riding on top to manipulate it using a control panel. Takahashi has been bringing around the Kabutom, proudly showing off his baby, and even allowing visitors to ride it at the Matsuri Tsukuba, for the price of just 200 yen ($2.00)! Just don’t be surprised when your kid suddenly starts begging you to make a giant insect robot they can ride and play with in your backyard.
[ via Rocket News ]