Just when we were starting to fear that the best and brightest of Japan were squandering their talent on robotic butts and squeezing milk from 2D images, along comes Suidobashi Heavy Industry with KURATAS, a 3.8 meter (about 13 feet) tall boardable and semi-operational mecha controlled with Kinect.

After stepping into the one-person cockpit, the pilot can control and interact with KARATAS using Kinect’s motion sensors or a built in handle. KURATAS can also be controlled by a handle from inside the cockpit or remotely with mobile phones via 3G internet.

The robot weights about 4,500 kilograms (about 5 tons) and moves using hydraulics powered by a diesel engine located under the torso and a set of four legs with a wheel attached to each.

According to Suidobashi Heavy Industry’s website and Facebook page, KURATAS is actually the prototype for the SDBX-01 Vaudeville, the world’s first consumer mecha which will be available for online purchase sometime later this year.

While there is no word yet on the price, the Vaudeville will be open to custom orders and Suidobashi Heavy suggests a number of practical applications for your household’s first giant mecha, such as equipping it with a hose for fire safety or a mop and vacuum to do the cleaning.

Source: Kyodai Robo Blog, YouTube

▼ KURATAS in all his glory

▼The most recent video update, uploaded on April 30

▼ Moving the hand with glove using V-Sido robotic control software

▼ KURATAS no like box. KURATAS crush box.

▼ The “Lohas Launcher” missile launcher. Intentionally made to fire erratically so as not to hit people and look awesome.

▼ Attaches to KURATAS’s shoulder.

▼ The “organic rifle.” Fires konjac (we’re not kidding) and is good for the environment.

▼ Attached to KURATAS here

[ Read in Japanese ]