Domo Arigato Mr Roboto! S Korea to Get Robot Theme Park

Posted by Rachel S on Thursday, February 13th, 2014

South Korea Robot Park

It was on, then off, and now on again! The government of South Korea has announced they are really building a giant robot theme and research park in Incheon, S Korea, not too far from Seoul. They broke ground in late 2013 and are looking at a prospective opening in 2016 – no firm date revealed. What was made known is the amount of money invested – a whopping $625 million. So what can we expect from the world’s first robot theme park?

Robot aquarium to be part of Robotland in S Korea

In addition to standard theme park fare, the park will play host to R&D facilities and living space for researchers. How cool would it be to live in Robot Central? A robot aquarium is mentioned and has me wondering how that would work. Would it be a hybrid of real fish swimming alongside mechanical replicas? Or would it be an all-robot tank? If so, will the icthys emulate nature or be contrived and fantastical? Please, please be the latter!

The promo video (see above) shows lots of intellectual property that belongs to others – Stars Wars Droid Dekkas, Iron Man, Transformers, RoboCop, War of the Worlds, et al. They even showed old school tech from the 70s Future World and West World movies which is, in itself, quite fascinating since those flicks are about robot theme parks that go disastrously awry resulting in the violent death of a number of park guests…

Cog Ferris Wheel at Robotland, South Korea

The video also shows a really cool looking Ferris Wheel with a cog design and an indoor area with identical pod-type devices (maybe those are mini-rides that use video and motion to toy with your inner ear and feel like a “real” ride). We also see what looks like a high-tech dark ride featuring robots, a giant outdoor roller coaster that seems to be supported by a giant robot statue and another coaster (look at 1:35 on the video) that has a traditional coaster track but that has the car pivoting on an arm out over the edges of the track in a circular motion that, if feasible, would be amazing.

Robotland shops promise more than just souvenirs and trinkets

We see a cool soaring coaster on a pivot arm in front of a giant video screen and a large Robo Shop that promises to peddle not just souvenirs, but also the latest hi-tech gear. A building (a restaurant or exhibit hall) suspended on the shoulders of four ginormous robots looks uber cool. The video isn’t dubbed or sub-titled, so it’s a bit frustrating to discern what some of the facilities purport to be. Listening closely at 2:30 you hear distinctly “Robot Cabaret” as we see an image of a theater with an all-robot revue and robotic orchestra (OMG!!).

Robot cabaret!

At about three minute in, you can discern “Robo Cop” something and we see what looks like a 3D show featuring said cyborg law enforcer. Are they licensing this material or blatantly co-opting copyrighted intellectual property? Video screens and ultra modern architecture abound in the concept art shown in the publicity video.

The first rule of robot fight club is...

Another exhibition hall shown is devoted solely to Japan’s iconic Astro Boy including themed rides based on the manga character. A human/robot hybrid stunt show is shown as are fireworks and nightclubs. If you really want to have a full-on nerdgasm, advance to 4:40 to see the full-size robot fight arena – it’s very Real Steel and that alone would be worth the 15 hour flight to the Land of the Morning Calm.

Asimov's all-important three laws of robotics

I do hope that Robotland’s designers are savvy to Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, otherwise this whole concept seems like the back-story to an action movie centering on rescuing innocent park goers from robots gone rogue. Either way, it sounds fun…

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