I've asked robot builders from all over the world about their ultimate purpose in building a robot. German builders often respond saying they want to improve performance, to design a robot that is better, faster, more reliable, or more precise than others. Japanese builders, especially those involved with humanoids, typically say "I want to build a real Gundam." And, Americans jokingly say they want to design a robot that will "Bring me a beer."
As Andrew Alter at Trossen Robotics found out, there's a problem with that. What if your robot has a serious drinking problem? You better make sure that he can't figure out how to open the can...
The July issue of ROBOCON Magazine hit the news stands yesterday and we were very pleased to see that it featured several articles near and dear to our hearts.
In addition to all the great, and always detailed, technical and event content that ROBOCON is known for, this issue included major articles covering RoboGames 2011, the Robot Japan First event, and Taylor Veltrop's master/slave robot control implementation using the Microsoft Kinect device.
Geiger, the awesome humanoid mech designed by Andrew Alter, was featured in the latest video from MakeMagazine. Unfortunately, as impressed as the hosts were by Geiger, they couldn't seem to remember that the robot was specifically designed to totally destroy the competition in Mech Warfare.
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
We've always been interested and intrigued by the potential of hexapod robots, but didn't feel the “Oh Wow! I've really got to have one of these”… until now.
Andrew Alter at Trossen Robotics is working on a new hexapod design, the PhantomX, that uses Robotis AX-18F Dynamixel servos and the Vanadium Labs ArbotiX Robocontroller. This little puppy is lightning fast, and surprisingly sleek. With this level of speed, manuverability, and flexibility, we can easily imagine a new RoboGames XXtreme Obstacle Course competition.
The new kit release schedule isn't available yet, but according to Andrew it will be “… in the very near future.” We can hardly wait.