While I don't really get to make as many Gunpla as I did before, I'm still a fan of the Gundam series - in particular the older generations.
Recently I came across the opportunity to work with Okawara Kunio-sensei - the mecha designer who did Gundam, Votoms, Vifam and more - the result of our collaboration is Mirai Project and which was revealed at our booth at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show.
Snapped together with Okawara-sensei at our Mirai Project booth - a really nice and down to earth guy!
The focal point of the Mirai Project is Hiriko - an electric powered urban mobility vehicle. Originally developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and currently being developed into a commercial product in Spain, Hiriko will soon be on the roads of the Niigata prefecture in test runs.
Together with Okawara-sensei, I'm on a team of folks who are focused on pushing this product out not only as a real vehicle to carry people around - but also as a vehicle for content too and thats where Mirai Suenaga fits in.
Okawara-sensei has designed the outer shell for the Japanese version of Hiriko which is driven by Mirai Suenaga. Everything up to here is reality and we have a roadmap to get Okawara-sensei's version of Hiriko on the roads in the future.
From here on its content - Hiriko then transforms into a powered suit which is also worn by Mirai - this part is designed by Skan Surisuwan - the lead designer for Square Enix's Front Mission.
The contents we are considering are various media including animation and merchandise too.
Here are the original sketches of Okawara-sensei's Hiriko sketches showing the car transformation - the wheels move inwards so that it can spin around on the spot. Sensei added arms to aid the driver in various situations like "help carry the shopping" ^^;
2560px x 1600px wallpaper lives here.
And here is a 1:1 scale mockup of Okawara-sensei's design of Hiriko complete with Mirai-chan colors.
Looks kinda plasticky at the moment but was the best we could do in the couple of weeks we had to make it - done with 3D printing.
Watch the European version of Hiriko in the video below.
Okawara-sensei and I also had a talk session at the booth last Sunday.
Our booth featured bits n pieces of Okawara-sensei and Mirai-chan's work.
First we take a look at Okawara-sensei's corner.
Okawara-sensei also has a small factory where he makes various gadgets.
How many of you have watched the Votoms series?
And how many of you have checked out the original series of Gundam?
The following photos cover Mirai-chan's corner.
The following photos cover the shenanigans at the booth.
Can't remember what publication this was but Mirai Project was picked up by quite a few media outlets in and outside of Japan.
And here are a few photos of the project brochure handed out at our booth which has interviews with some of the key staff involved.