BattroBorg 20 battling robots, the latest entry in Takara Tomy’s famous Omnibot robot toy series, was announced today in Tokyo. BattroBorg is a totally new product that is sure to immediately jump to the top of the “must have” list for anyone that enjoys robots.
While they may bring to mind comparisons with the Rock Em Sock Em fighting robots that were popular during my childhood, Takara Tomy has come up with a unique, innovative design that is absolutely impossible to resist once you pick up the controllers and join in the action. Because your robot throws punches that instantaneously mirror your moves, playing with the BattroBorg is completely engaging and makes you feel as if you were right in the middle of the bout. The sound effects add an extra dimension of reality to the play. The experience is totally compelling and addictive.
A hit sensor incorporated into the robots helmet records each time the opponent manages to land a punch. When a match starts an LED mounted on the robots backpack is Green, indicating that it hasn’t been punched yet. As the opponent manages to hit the robots jaw, the color changes with each hit to blue, white, yellow then "warning" red. One more punch and the Knock-out buzzer sounds and the losing robot is temporarily incapacitated. The robot can then be reset by pressing and holding the helmet visor for a second.
The BattroBorg body features a unique single motor design that swings the robots upper torso back and forth in a twisting motion. Linkages cause the arms and fists to punch aggressively while a ratchet-like system in the feet results in the robot moving right and left across the combat ring. Users hold the remote control sections in each hand and operate the robot by making punching motions. It really feels like you are totally engaged in the fight yourself.
In addition to the basic fighting mode, the robot also has a sparring mode throwing random punches. Just like a typical human sparring match, the punches are slow at first then speed up as the play progresses. It starts throwing simple punches then adds combinations. There are several different games that can be played using the robots including a version of the popular kids game of Tag, Slalom, and a variety of practice routines.
There’s lots of room for personalization. Each robot’s helmet visor is removable so that operators can put a picture of their own face design or photo on the robot. The robots also have removable flags that can be decorated with team colors or stickers. The company plans to package sheets of stickers with each robot, including some that are blank so that users can add their own decoration.
The BattroBorg robot system uses 2.4 GHz wireless communication. Up to 20 robots can fight at the same time providing the opportunity for some exciting robot rumbles. The onboard battery provides up to 10 minutes of active play time, with a 20 minute recharge cycle. They come in a choice of four colors: "Star White", "Mars Red", "Earth Blue", and "Cosmic Black".
BattroBorg robots are expected to sell for ¥3,800 each. An optional double-sided fighting and practice "Hexaring" ring is priced at ¥1,000. The company is expected to offer packaged promotional sets with multiple robots later in the year. The initial release date is July 14th for the Japan and Asia markets. The company expects to make Battroborg available in Europe and the U.S. later, but wasn’t able to comment on specific dates at this time.
Related links: BattroBorg 20 - Takara Tomy (Japanese)
Rumbles have become a tradition at most robot events here. The first one I can remember seeing was during an early ROBO-ONE competition in 2004. The concept is simple. Usually all of the robots start off in the ring and try to push, shove, or kick their opponents out of the ring without falling out themselves. Sometimes, when there are a large number of robots, their entry into the ring can be staged.
For a highly produced event, like Robot Pro Wrestling Dekinnoka 10! there may even be script or storyboard. Rumbles, either free form or scripted, are hilariously funny.
’Robot Pro Wrestling 10 – Rumble (Video)’ continues
Get ready to rumble! The Science Channel will be airing the Killer Robots RoboGames 2011 special on Memorial Day.
Be sure to let us know how it turns out, since it won't be broadcast over here, at least not for a while.
Humanoid robots aren't cheap. The lowest price kit runs at least $700, and builders typically pay from $1,200 just to get started in the biped robot game. So, when they compete at an event like RoboGames, they tend to be a little cautious about breaking servos or brackets, at least until the official part of the competition is over.
But, once they can relax and not have to worry about missing their turn in the ring due to a broken part, they throw caution to the wind. All the robots, both lightweight and middleweight, get into the ring together. When they referee shouts "Start!", the robot rumble is on.
The game is extremely simple. Knock your opponents out of the ring and avoid the same thing happening to yourself. The Last Robot Standing wins.
A little over two years ago, just prior to RoboGames 2009, Andrew Alter and a few of his colleagues were toying around with the idea of battling robots, both multi-legged and humanoid. Since they were all dyed-in-the-wool Mech fans, they naturally thought it might be a lot of fun to try and stage a "Mech Warfare" competition.
Their first attempt turned out to be more fun, and much more of a challenge, than they ever dreamed. They did manage to stage some battles and certainly proved the concept. More important, they generated tremendous interest and excitement. Robots stomping through downtown, ambushing the opposing forces, fighting to the death using bullets (air-soft pellets), giving and asking no quarter. The excitement, and the adrenaline/testosterone was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Suddenly the other robot builders started to stand up and take notice. They wanted to play too!
One year later at RoboGames 2010, Mech Warfare had grown up quite a bit. The playing field was professionally constructed and looked just like a real city, albeit in miniature. The bots were better too. Their builders had learned a lot from the first competition and incorporated all their learning into their new creations.
Next month, on April 15th through the 17th, they're going back into battle. But this time there's a major difference. Mech Warfare at RoboGames 2011 in San Mateo will be the first time that battle robots designed from the ground up will take the field. These 3rd generation Mech's are hot for blood and they come completely equipped to win, no matter what. There are already 21 robots officially registered to compete, and there is still a week before the registration closes.
This is one competition you won't want to miss! We'll be there all three days, from the time the doors open until they kick us out at night. Be there!
Photo credit: Giger - Andrew Alter