Japan unveils giant robot with the hopes of boosting tourism

Published on : Tuesday, December 1, 2020

On Monday, an 18metre (60foot) “Gundam” robot was unveiled in Japan with the aim of invigorating the tourism industry that has been largely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The robot can walk and move its arms and will be the centrepiece of the Gundam Factory Yokohama, a tourist attraction that is all set to open on December 19, in the port city.

The robot has been modelled after a figure in “Mobile Suit Gundam”, a Japanese cartoon first launched in the late 1970s about enormous battle robots piloted by humans. The series spawned multiple spin-offs and toys and gained a worldwide following. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said in a press statement that authorities are hoping that the innovation will lead to stimulating tourism demand and revitalising local areas. He stated that in light of the coronavirus issue, he hopes to see people tackle such new endeavours while making an effort to prevent the spread of infection.

Made with more than 20 giant moving parts, Gundam can also open its eyes and turn its head besides rolling, walking and moving its arms. Visitors is all set for a treat as the robot will display a new pose every half hour, and according to old video records it is also known that it can kneel and flex its fingers. Visitors at the park will be offered close-up views of the robot by climbing the observation decks situated between 15 and 18 meters (49.2 to 59 feet) high on the Gundam-Dock Tower. A Gundam-Lab exhibition facility is available on site, including a virtual reality dome “to simulate sitting inside the cockpit of the 25-ton mobile suit.”

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