The 8th annual RoboGames attracts teams from around the world to compete in 60 different events - from dancing androids to fire-breathing combat robots and autonomous cars to soccer playing droids.
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a rich playground where hard working cogs in the startup machine wrestle valiantly in their cubicles with the coding questions of the ages. 51 weeks out of the year, it's humdrum workday solving the world's technology problems.
And then there's week 52 - RoboGames week...
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
In the early ROBO-ONE competitions the first day was entirely devoted to 2 minute autonomous demonstrations where each builder's robot had to perform, and be scored by a panel of expert judges. The competition was intense and the pressure extreme. There could easily be as many as 100 humanoid robots lined up to try and impress the judges enough so that they could grab one of the 32 slots to return the next day and battle in the ring.
Based on short science fiction story by Richard Matheson that originally appeared as an episode of the original Twilight Zone television series, Real Steel has been reborn as a full length feature film that will also screen in IMAX staring Hugh Jackman. Did we mention 2,000 pound, 8 foot tall boxing robots…?
Survival Research Labs has a totally unique, and surprising, approach to robotics. They focus on the artistic, the dramatic, and the memorable aspects and tend to ignore traditional engineering and approaches that might stand in the way of doing what they want to accomplish. Along the way they manage to crack, fracture, and sometimes demolish common misconceptions about robots and their role in society.
From Simone at Suicidebots: "Mark Pauline, punk rock übermensch of Survival Research Labs gave a talk at the Sonoma County Museum of Art the other day, in which he related his experiences starting up SRL,trials and tribulations along the way, and how the damn kids can’t even fix a toilet nowadays."
Mark Pauline: Grampa Shows The Whipper Snappers How It’s Done