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Here comes the Skeletonic

The New Paper | Melody Ng | Monday, Jul 7, 2014

TEAM EFFORT: Team Skeletonics consists of Mr Tomohiro Aka in the suit and Mr Reyes Tatsuru Shiroku. The team also has Mr Masakazu Takasu, a friend of the duo and a technical evangelist who helps explain the exoskeleton to the public.

It weighed 30kg, came in two suitcases and took nearly a day to be reconstructed.

And when it was done, it stood a towering 3.8m tall and left everyone in the hall clapping in appreciation and awe.

Well, everyone except perhaps the children, some of whom ran away from it in fear.

The 2nd Generation Skeletonic had made its way to our shores all the way from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Built by the Japanese duo of Reyes Tatsuru Shiroku and Tomohiro Aka, the exoskeleton suit is making its appearance at the Makers' Block festival at Suntec City.

Made of aluminium and plastic, the suit costs $620,000 and took the two 24-year-olds half a year to complete it.

The pair has been making exoskeletons since 2011.

Mr Aka, who donned the exoskeleton suit when The New Paper visited the festival yesterday afternoon, got the crowd clapping and several children scampering.

But the effervescence and warmth of the duo, named Team Skeletonics, quickly eased the little ones' fear. The excited children began high-fiving the machine.

Mr Shiroku, president of Skeletonics Inc, said: "I've watched Gundam Seed since I was a young boy. I remember being fascinated with the robots on the show. Sometimes, I even get inspiration from watching Transformers and Iron Man."

ATTENTION-GRABBING

The suit is one of five exoskeleton suits the duo have made, and their invention has since captured the attention of people across the globe. The team was on the Jimmy Kimmel Show in the US three years ago.

Along with the suit demonstration at the festival, giant cardboard sculptures also attracted plenty of attention from the crowd.

Lining the entrance of the exhibition hall were sculptures of Optimus Prime from Transformers and furniture handmade entirely by Mr Bartholomew Ting and his team.

Mr Ting said: "I wanted to make cardboard sculptures and encourage people to find beauty in everyday material. I've had many requests to paint the sculptures but I liked leaving it its earthly natural colour."

The heavy-duty cardboard that Mr Ting uses is produced in-house at Tri-Wall Asia, a packaging company he works for.

The creative director and his team have displayed their sculptures at 313@somerset, several libraries and community centres.

They have even worked with the Singapore GP to create a life-size Formula 1 racing car.

The Makers' Block will continue to feature Team Skeletonics, Mr Ting and other local and international artists, builders, crafters, designers and engineers (known as "makers") at Suntec City till Monday.

melodyng@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 05, 2014.
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