Our brave new digital world has brought us everything from self-driving cars to virtual realities - but where are the transforming robots we were promised in the children's cartoons of the 80s (and several underwhelming movies)?
Japanese outfit Brave Robotics wants to correct this oversight and make these 'robots in disguise' a reality at last. Michael Bay has had his CGI fun, but a fully operational and physical Transformer is long overdue.
The initiative is called Project J-Deite and it has the backing of Asratec Corporation, owned by gargantuan mobile phone operator SoftBank, so money really shouldn't be an issue in the robot's development.
More than meets the eye
The Optimus Prime look-a-like will stand 11 feet tall and weigh 1,540 pounds when finished. In car mode, the engineers are aiming for a top speed of 40mph, and its walking speed should be around half of that. The plan is for it to be able to take two passengers.
The prototype you can see here is around a quarter of the size of the planned robot and looks to work as advertised. Transformation only takes a few seconds, though it's not quite as smooth as it was in the animated series.
We'd like to hope this idea won't crash and burn as development ramps up - the engineers behind it are aiming for a completion date of 2017 - but Transformer fans are going to be watching closely.
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