Reader Nathan asks: "Do you think we'll ever be able to build robot mecha like the Gundams from the Japanese anime series Gundam or the Valkyries from the Japanese anime series Macross?"
The comment box is open. Practical? Plausible? What are the obstacles?
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Aren't we already testing robot weapons in iraq? And augmented body armor, like the XOS? From there it is not far to full mecha, I think.
Hey, Zephyranthes up there is rocking some sexy red pumps.
I believe we are very, very far from what the general public thinks as "mechs," though we are getting closer every year as Microsnake has pointed out. Mechanized units are not so far away, cyborgs are always possible, and small "mechs" should be here soon enough, though obviously not on the scale of the stories tall versions we have come to know, or even The Matrix's "mechs."
I think the real problem is that a mech wouldnt really make a good weapon compared to say, a main battle tank. A mech would be a nice tall juicy target, less armored and more delicate compared to a faster tank loaded w/ armor that has a slim low profile. But hey, I still want one
no, I think the biggest challenge to making a mech is the power system. How do you power all the electrical equipment it uses, particularly the servos for each joint. These servos have to be efficient and move at high speeds, because thats what makes a mech a good weapon, maneuverability and speed (less need for good armor).
I have to say that really big mechs are out. If you look at all this Quantum technology research and the patents on Q-bits that the military is purchasing. All this big external clunky hardwire is going to be a thing of the past within 25 years. Everything is going to shape shift or transform. The standard deployed tactical unit will be "The Power Rangers".
I think for Mechs to work they would have to be made of an alloy that is much stronger then Steel and very light. with todays alloys it would be very heavy and that gives you balance and maneuverability issues.
So to comment on what Warscythe and bigwilly262 said. The gundams where made of something called gundanium. It was lighter than any other alloy and about 1000 times stronger. Tanks couldn't even touch them. And I think there were so bigg because there only competition were other gundams. They had to carry huge weapons around like the beam rifle pictures above and a huge heat sabre (sword). And it didn't matter how big of a target they where because of there armor. They also travel great distances very fast due to there size.
Power and movement are the two largest problems with mechs. The biggest breakthroughs will be synthetic muscle type materials, and a power supply that can run them for more than a few minutes. A nuclear power supply using a material like Americium is one proposition, and another possibility could be some kind of superconduction motor/generator.
On the tactical side, depending on the design of the mech, you could have a machine that would be far more mobile than a tank, because you could have the ability to move vertically very quickly, as well as horizontally. There are actually two kinds of mech design templates out in circulation. The "humanoid"-type, which is high mobility, and the "machine"-type, which focuses more on heavy armor and weapons. The most well known of the machine-type are the mechs from the Battle Tech or Mech Warrior, and the Gundam units are a humanoid-type.
But those tactical advantages would only exist if the far fetched technology existed(mainly gundam related, also mech warrior). Also their mobility is all based on the thrusters doing the work(mostly gundam not sure about mech warrior). Further more the practical implication of arming a/every individual soldier with a nuclear weapon(nuclear power plant), of course they would get special training and neural implants to avoid insubordination (Ooooh sci-fi). Did I mention technical limitations?
Why are we so focused on the notion that these mechs have to be like gundams? Since most of you guys are on the anime route, has anyone checked out full metal panic?(If you haven't you really should) Their view on mechs is much much more realistic, altho the power plants that power the more advanced mechs (arm slaves FMP term also hints at their control scheme) are powered by palladium reactors (same as Tony Starks' suit).
Anyways back to the main question. Given the tactical advantages of mechs (ability to travel uneven terrain, through forested areas, increased range of sensors and weapon systems, and greater flexibility, all assuming the mech ends up like those from FMP) generals would jump at chance to field test these mechs. However the cost and the technology is whats missing, and until that is fulfilled there isn't much of a incentive to invest time and money into a project that lacks a foundation. However I believe that the sarcos suit would most likely be confined to base choirs as Lucius Fox(batman begins) once said "Bean counters didn't think a soldier's life was worth 300 grand".
again until they find a power source, and a way to powerfully and quickly move the joints, they would rather go for a bigger mech (production of fewer units with less intricate parts), plus we are talking mechs, not powersuits.
gundam / full metal panic is a joke.. realistic mech anime was patlabor, highly realistic.. they even explain why several attempt to utilize mecha in war failed miserably.. highly ineffective.. it required too much maintenance and relatively low fire power.
most of the mecha in the story was used for construction, nimble and flexible movement made construction and rescue much easier and effective. but relatively weak again`s highly effective war machine like tank.
the detail and complexity of the story in the anime was by far higher than any-other giant mecha movies..
well, Honda is doing pretty well with the robot they are designing. Now we have to seperate this into two different types of mechs : army use VS non-army use.
As some people said before, army-wise, it wouldnt be really efficient, unless it can move at amazing speeds, be super agile and have an amazing battle range. If not, it will be shot down super fast.
In a non-army matter, it can be very useful. Keeping with the army's cousins, the police, such a mech can be used as a primary entrance technique. Send it in whenever you have a dangerous situation with a lifethreatening risk.
We must not forget however, that many jobs occupied by people can be replaced with robots. No vacations, no food, no sick leave, 24hr operation time. No wonder there are so many people without a job.
I don't see any practical advantages to deploying, or even developing giant, human-shaped weapon systems. Not exactly stealthy -- you know. Human-sized or smaller battle-bots, cyborgs, or soldiers encased in a high-tech armor/weapon system make more sense.
In fiction, mechs serve strictly literary or entertainment purposes. For written works, they may serve as a metaphor for egos too large for the soul within -- for example. (yeah yeah, I know.)
In Anime, a giant mech pulling off an impossible martial arts maneuver to defeat the other *evil* mech is far more interesting to watch than an Abrahms firing its gun at another tank. I guess you can retrofit a tank to wield a giant samurai sword. That is of course ridiculous. Which is exactly on point when discussing the development of giant mechs.
In real war, soldiers are far too concerned with staying alive and defeating the enemy to really care about how cool they looked killing an enemy soldier. Practicality and the horrible realities of warfare makes the idea of developing giant mechs a non-starter.
If you can make a mech that could withstand missile fire and pull up tanks and canons with its bare hands, then it would be practical. You wouldn't need nuclear bombs if you had those things.
But who'd want to put up the money to do that?
here the answer to all you questions
you use beryllium deplyeted uranuim alloy as armor
just make it llok like a battle mech
if you want a gundum go get a XOS
don't battle mech have nuclear reactors
just make a very samll one
servos we have firction less bearings
servos we have them all ready
falconer has a good point
mechs well be useful
We will never have mechs. They are Science fiction, and impractical. A modern tank is such an efficient destruction/killing machine that they will ALWAYS be superior to an towering target that a mech will be.
you can put more weapons on a mech
is as simple as that
you can also have hevey armor that youll need moab to crak that the main reason for mechs
OK I see a great way for the use of mech technology. Soon we will have Ultra capacitors that will be able to store 100s of times more electricity than our current Li-Ion Batteries. \\\\
This will make it possible to operate many very neat robots and lead us further out of physical labor that wrecks our bodies.
I would personally build a hovering robot that could read body language and predict if an enemy is about to become hostile. And then have the ability to take evasive maneuvers.
Has anyone seen the new flying R/c helicopters? what a great tool these would be for doing in house and in city surveillance.
Hey If they need to recharge the battery the mech would simply unfold a piece of solar thin-film and rest somewhere!
Then when it is fully charged it could resume it's reconnaissance.
It could even be fitted with weapons.
I think it's more of an expense issue as well as a purpose what would one be used for and how much would one cost? one could be built NOW from off the shelf items readly available. Mechs are heavy to begin with mainly because of their hydraulics,hydraulic reserviours,hydraulic actuators,power supplies that could be deep cycle marine batteries, to fuel cells, and an armored composite frame to support all that weight
I think the day will come when mech's or very similar machinery will be used in combat. If you look at the F35 Joint Strike fighter, it practically transforms when it goes from vertical take off into flight. Having the abilty to walk or hover at low altitudes give an added benefit of stealth, hiding and suprise attack. The implications for construction and space exploration are obvious, but I think the military will have a need for them at some point. The battles of tomorrow will be fought with robots and the need for humans to get in and off of the battlefield quickly will most likely give way to this type of technology.
I think it would be possible to make a 7 meter tall humanoid mech that is as quick and agile as one of those M9 Gernsback Arm Slaves in Full Metal Panic if it is made almost entirely out of carbon composites. I imagine it would be made using carbon fiber reinforced polymers to make up the endoskeleton structure with the cockpit in the chest cavity and carbon nanotube aerogels, an artificial muscle 200 times stronger than steel and a contraction rate slightly better than human muscle, to manipulate said skeleton which would then be overlaid with a "skin" made of buckypaper, a tissuepaper-like material that is 500 times stronger than steel as well as heat resistant and electrically conductive. It's electrical conductivity allows it to act as a Faraday cage that would shield the electronics from electromagnetic interference such as EMP. Armored plating will be fitted over certain areas of the mech such as the head, chest cavity and the lower legs, with armored pads hanging over the shoulder, hips, and buttocks. The mech will be powered using a battery pack containing a couple dozen car battery-sized carbon nanotube ultracapacitors. Excluding the weight of the armored plating, the mech would weigh in at a featherweight 5 or 6 tons, which is heavier than a car but lighter than a fully loaded semi-truck.
All of these materials and technologies exist or are in development. The only obstacle to their widespread uses is the cost of manufacturing. However, researchers are constantly coming up with newer and cheaper manufacturing techniques for these materials, so it won't be long before they become more feasible.
As for the usefulness of mechs in combat, I believe it would basically allow an armored unit to function with the speed and efficiency of a strike team. That said, the use of mechs would probably be limited to surgical strikes against armored targets in built up areas such as in urban and forest environments while the main battle tank will still remain king of armored warfare when fighting in open terrain.
You guys need to stop watching too much Gundam and look at more "realistic" mechs, such as "Big O" and "GaoFighGar" ( If you don't know who they are, LOOK THEM UP. )
You should really watch Patlabor.