Last weekend must have been some sort of Japanese national robot holiday - at least that’s what it seemed like here. ASIMO was giving running demos at a major science museum in Tokyo, the LEGO FLL Mindstorms robot group held their national competition (more on that soon), and the 17th Japan National Robot Sumo - 10 kg. Class competition was staged in Yokohama.
We’ve reported on the 3kg. class Robot Sumo competitions before, especially the Kanto regional finals held in Chiba last October.
The 3 kg. class robots are exciting and lightening fast - but for real energy, speed, and excitement, the 10 kg. sumo robots have them beat hands down.
A weight limit of 10 kg. allows the builders a lot more flexibility to creatively add not only more mass, but also interesting enhancements - like long magnetic arms that drop down after the competition starts to trap and control their opponent.
Sometimes it works well, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, even with the best preparation and planning, things break at the last minute - heartbreakingly sometimes. We caught one spectacular match on camera where one robot finally managed to overcome extreme odds and pushed its attacker out of the ring.Unfortunately in the process it broke something internally and had to throw in the towel.
Is it rough and tumble? You bet. The battles are so severe that the referees sometimes have to stop the battle to repair the ring itself.
Here’s a brief video of some of the bouts followed by some photos we took during the event.