No Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Here: Behold A U.S. Vs. Japan Giant Robot Duel Engineers Gui Cavalcanti and Matt Oehrlein have brought science fiction to life. Their giant robot Eagle Prime fights a giant Japanese robot in an epic battle airing on Twitch on Tuesday.

No Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Here: Behold A U.S. Vs. Japan Giant Robot Duel

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/558092970/558252094" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's happening.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The age of giant, fighting robots.

MARTIN: The first-ever giant robot fight.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: On one side, Team USA. On the other side, we have team Japan.

MARTIN: And by giant, we mean 16 feet tall.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Landing a huge right hook on the top vehicle there. And it comes crashing down.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Nice, nice, nice, nice, nice.

MARTIN: The robot fight is airing tonight on the online streaming site Twitch. Here to talk more about this literally groundbreaking event is Gui Cavalcanti of MegaBots, Inc. He is one of the pilots who actually navigated one of these robots that fought in the duel. Gui, thanks so much for being with us.

GUI CAVALCANTI: Thank you for having me. It's a pleasure to be here.

MARTIN: What in the world...

CAVALCANTI: (Laughter).

MARTIN: ...Spurred the idea to have giant robots fight each other?

CAVALCANTI: You know, we've seen decades and decades of science fiction - right? - all featuring these giant robots fighting. And, you know, me and my co-founder Matt, we're a couple of engineers who specialize in big equipment, and we realized we can actually make those dreams come to life.

MARTIN: I love it. So this is a dream - this is a personal dream of yours, now realized.

CAVALCANTI: Yes.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

CAVALCANTI: This is a personal dream of mine come to life.

MARTIN: So just so people have a sense of this, I mean, we tried to give a sense of how big these things are, but what do the robots look like and what can they do, exactly?

CAVALCANTI: Yeah, so it looks like a very bulky, stocky human being with the red, white and blue all over it. Our robot, Eagle Prime, stands 16 feet tall. Matt and I are inside the robot.

MARTIN: Oh, both of you are inside?

CAVALCANTI: Yes.

MARTIN: Wow.

CAVALCANTI: It's a two-seater.

MARTIN: OK.

CAVALCANTI: I'm the driver in the back watching through monitors to see out of the robot. And then Matt is in the front.

MARTIN: What weapons does your robot have at its disposal?

CAVALCANTI: So let's see. We brought a couple of cannons, a missile launcher, claw, a giant 48-horsepower chainsaw to the fight.

MARTIN: How cool was it to be inside this thing? I mean, this is like if you've seen the movie "Iron Man," it's kind of like that, right? You'd be navigating...

CAVALCANTI: Yeah.

MARTIN: ...The robot from inside.

CAVALCANTI: It's awesome. It's terrifying. We're sitting on top of a 430-horsepower Corvette engine.

MARTIN: Wow.

CAVALCANTI: So it's like you're sitting in a redlining supercar. And you can actually feel the robot kind of just shaking and quaking around you as you get punched, as you, like, lean into a turn, as you fire the weapons or throw a punch. Like, everything's moving around you.

MARTIN: It's dangerous to live your dreams, Gui. It is dangerous to live your dreams.

CAVALCANTI: (Laughter) That's exactly right.

MARTIN: So this is all insanely fun, but work with me, Gui.

CAVALCANTI: Yeah.

MARTIN: Was there some larger scientific mission at work here?

CAVALCANTI: Our goal at MegaBots is to start a sports league of these robots. So the next step is really, you know, take this concept and make it into the next big arena and stadium sport. It's about what you consume as entertainment being inspirational. Are you going to want to be the NFL player and have a .0001 percent chance of actually making money playing in the NFL?

Or are you going to get inspired to be an engineer or a scientist because you see giant robots fight and you think it's the coolest thing ever? And then you see that these didn't come from nothing. These came from a couple of people dreaming and deciding that they could just do it.

MARTIN: Gui Cavalcanti, he is CEO of MegaBots, Inc. The first-ever giant robot fight is going to be streamed online on Twitch.tv tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks so much for talking with us, Gui.

CAVALCANTI: Thank you for having me.

Copyright © 2017 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.