Robo-Jurassic Park

Reality bites:
“Welcome to Jurassic Park…with robots”

Photo: Facebook/JurassicPark.de

A wealthy Japanese businessman is bringing together two of the coolest things ever; dinosaurs and robots. In the next five years, he plans to open a robo-Jurassic Park

What would you do if you had an infinite amount of money available? Exactly, you’d go all out to build a real Jurassic Park, right? While the idea from the original 1993 film of the mosquito stuck in amber with dino DNA sounds plausible, it’s not so easy to implement in reality.

Now, Kazuya Kanemaru, CEO of ON-ART Corp has devised the next best thing. If you can’t grow real dinosaurs, why not build them with robots?

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The planned theme park with the mouthful of a name, Dino-A-Park, will be inhabited with life-size robotic reptiles. And these are not cheap plastic models either, but look and move like actual dinosaurs. They are controlled by humans and designed based on real fossils. The creations are made from carbon fibre - a field in which ON-ART Corp is familiar, at least in part. So far, the company has built and sold life-size balloon replicas of dinosaurs and comic book heroes.

Kanemaru’s plan is to have the financing for his giant pet project in place by 2017 and aims to make his vision a reality within the next four to five years.

Attack of the Robo-Dinos

A foretaste of the prehistoric park was given at an event in Tokyo in November where a presentation of the entrepreneur’s plans included the first prototypes. A downtown hotel conference room trembled with the roars of a 26-foot tall T-Rex, along with an Allosaurus and the fearsome stars of the film, the raptors. Actors played the parts of the dino rangers and as you’d expect if such ferocious beasts were on the loose in real life, some humans came to a sticky end.

When will the real T-Rex arrive?

Meanwhile, the possibility of a real dinosaur park one day becoming a reality is not to be dismissed. Renowned paleontologist Jack Horner served as a scientific advisor on the Jurassic Park movies. In his laboratory at Montana State University, he has experimented with bird DNA for years. Rather than focusing on recreating the giant lizards from the Hollywood blockbuster - it is enough for the time being to focus on a mini-edition. “It’s all about form. Size is something we can work on at another time,” he previously told Live Science. 

“We can get teeth into a bird and just recently, a team from Yale and Harvard have managed to retro-engineer a beak back into a dinosaur-looking mouth. So we basically have the tail to reinstate, and to transform the wings back into an arm and hand.” The man who partly inspired the character of Dr. Alan Grant says the search for the right genes could end tomorrow or could come within ten years. 

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Until then, the Japanese robotic park is not a bad alternative. And definitely safer. 

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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