We were lucky enough to be able to attend the 17th Japan Robot Sumo Competition for the 10 kg. class last weekend. Like real sumo, some of the matches were over in a fraction of a second with one massive, or skillful robot rapidly pushing its opponent out of the ring. And, just like real sumo, every once in a while there was a match packed full of tension, energy, excitement, and drama.
Our absolute favorite match of the afternoon featured a robot built by a high school age team pitted against a very unique robot designed by an intense middle aged gentleman. His robot was complete with arms that dropped down after the match started, and tried to entrap and force the other robot out of the ring. We’ve included photos and a video of the match below.
Keep in mind that this is the 10 kg (22 lb) robot sumo classification, which means that the momentum the robots build up in motion is tremendous. And, like their little brothers in the 3 kg classification, these big guys can land some damaging blows - often by accident. It’s not unusual for a match to end in default because one of the robots is damaged so badly that it can’t continue the fight.
Emergency repairs have to be done on the spot and
under the sharp eyes of the referree.
Notice the array of magnets that try to keep the robot
attached to the ring surface.
The competition rules spell out weight and footprint limits
but allow for items like the ‘arms’ that extend after the
match starts. Notice how the designer included a cable
between the two arms.
Here’s the video. The match is fairly long, as sumo matches go, but well worth watching all the way to the end.
That was the first match out of what was supposed to be a best two out of three series. And, although the boy’s robot won the first match, it was damaged. They worked on it for a while, but finally had to throw in the towel, so the win went to the older gentleman by default.