Watch a giant 18-metre-tall Gundam robot take its first steps

The 25-tonne robot will be the centrepiece of a Gundam-themed centre in Japan

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The coronavirus pandemic may have much of the world at a standstill, but it hasn’t managed to keep a giant Gundam robot in Japan from taking its first steps.

Gundam is a science fiction franchise that has featured the mecha-giant (a popular term for mechanical giant) in more than 50 films and TV series episodes.

A YouTube video posted by Michael Overstreet shows the Gundam robot lifting its massive leg and planting it back down on the floor. It also leans forward and rotates its red and blue torso after engineers on a crane inspect it.

Standing at more than 18 metres tall, the 25-tonne robot is still missing a head and there are no hands attached to its arms. But by the end of the year, it will be able to walk.

The robot sports a large steel frame along with a carbon fibre exterior. Its movement is made possible by electric actuators, which are used to take signals from a computer and convert them into motion.

The University of Tokyo’s JSK Lab, which is one of the partners in the project, developed a simulator earlier this year that researchers have been using to explore different movements for the giant Gundam.

According to IEEE Spectrum magazine, the robot's movements are linked to a mobile support system, called Gundam Carrier, and they are controlled remotely.

The giant robot will be the centrepiece of the Gundam Factory Yokohama in Japan, an upcoming franchise-themed amusement centre.

Though a number of giant Gundam statues have been made in the past few years, such as one in Tokyo Metropolitan Shiokaze Park, the 18-metre-tall robot in Yokohama is to be the first that can walk.

The centre will also house a lab, where visitors can learn more about the history of the fictional robot; an academy, which elaborates on the structure, design and mechanism of the moving Gundam; as well as a conference room, where events, lectures, research presentations and workshops will be held.

According to Popular Mechanics magazine, construction of the 18-metre tall Gundam began in January. The giant robot was initially scheduled to be officially unveiled in October along with the centre's opening.

However, Time Out reported earlier this month that the coronavirus pandemic has postponed the centre's opening until the end of the year. So it could be a little while before we see the giant Gundam robot in its new home.