Last Friday, December 23rd, was a national holiday in Japan - the Emperor's Birthday, but instead of going to the Palace to sing "Happy Birthday", robot fans in Japan made the trek to the Sumo hall in Ryogoku just a short train ride away. . .
Speed and power are critical
This was the 17th annual event and drew lots of press coverage and attention. The popular robot-fan.net website managed to capture the final matches on video and has posted both a streaming and a downloadable version of the video (see links below.)
Two of the finalists had arms (wings?)
that helped control their opponents
For months Robot Sumo designers and teams all over Japan have been fighting their way up through the regional competitions hoping to make it to the year end event. For example, at the Kanto regional finals held about two months ago in Chiba, there were close to 300 contestants, but only 7 made the cut and proceeded to the All Japan competition. In total there were 64 autonomous and 64 remote controlled robot competitors. Just qualifying for the event is a huge accomplishment.
All Japan Robot Sumo - Final Matches - streaming video via robot-fan.net website (Japanese)
Downloadable wmv video - via robot-fan.net website (Japanese)