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Robotics Science

SF RoboGames This Weekend 75

Posted by Zonk
from the please-give-my-best-wishes-to-everybody! dept.
Vrogy writes "RoboGames (formerly RoboOlympics) kicked off on Friday in San Francisco with competitor check in and sub-Lightweight class fights. This competition, following in the footsteps of events such as Robot Wars and Battlebots, pits remotely-controlled fighting machines against each other in a bulletproof steel arena. The Competitors are many and tickets are still available. Saturday and Sunday will feature up to 340, or Superheavyweight robot combat, with such crowd favorites as Alcoholic Stepfather, a superheavy that spews flame nearly 25 feet, and Megabyte, a heavyweight that spins a steel shell of doom. RoboGames isn't only for fighting robots, though, it will also feature miniature robotic wrestlers called Robo-Ones, Lego bots, BEAM bots, robotic soccer games, and all kinds of art bots- it's like a festival of robots!"
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SF RoboGames This Weekend

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  • Robot Club (Score:2, Interesting)

    by OccidentalSlashy (809265) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:07AM (#12053669)
    I used to attend the Robot Club meetings at the San Francisco Exploratorium. I attended prepubescently, which is when you generally develop your fixation on robots. Before the smarmy do-nothing adults drove me away I managed to build a twin-motor platform with enough power to carry around a Radio Shack music chip. Later the batteries on that thing exploded.

    And now the place has been taken over by 25-foot firebreathing pneumatisms. Good, good.

  • by Steward5732 (868088) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:19AM (#12053700) Homepage
    however, it is good starting point to compete with Japans in this Robot Area : Sanitation Robots Garbage Collection Robots Security Robots Guide Robots Child-Care Robots Next-Generation Wheelchair Robots http://www-2.expo2005.or.jp/en/robot/robot_project _01.html
  • robots or R/C? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dsb (52083) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:21AM (#12053706) Journal
    is there is a difference?

    or maybe not, since I've not looked into the formal definition of robots, but I always believed that robots were autonomous.
  • by plutonium83 (818340) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:36AM (#12053744)
    FIRST [usfirst.org] (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is far superiour than any stupid robowars program. We acually spend our time to create something constructive that inspires high school kids to pursue the fields of science or engineering rather than creating robots to mindlessly destory. Why isn't there a news story on the 7 regional events [usfirst.org] out of 30 that FIRST is having all over the US??
  • RoboWars are boring (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lokedhs (672255) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:38AM (#12053752)
    I have watched it a few times. There is really very little battle, and when actually fighting it's pertty much the heaviest who wins. They all got the design down so they look the same: low, unexposed wheels, and a shovel in front to get underneath the enemy. The flame thrower is nothing more than a silly show-off feature.

    They really need to change the rules somehow to make the fights more interesting. Racing though silly course with "dangerous spikes" that can't even penetrate a millimetre of aluminium is just silly.

    I can't remember seeing any of the robots actually damaged on that show.

    Now, to be fair, I did see another, similar, but much better robot show. I can't remember its name but it too suffered from being too... umm... "nice" to the robots.

  • An Alternative (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BigDogCH (760290) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @09:50AM (#12053788) Journal
    For those of you who don't live close enough, and want something in the midwest, I recommend http://www.tcmechwars.com/ in Minneapolis MN.

    I have competed in it twice, and had a blast. It is cheap and fun! Also, their rules are setup to make it very flexible and entertaining for the crowd.

    Come on Slashdotters, build your own and compete! It is fun, even if your robot doesn't do very well.
  • by Gogogoch (663730) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:07AM (#12053822)
    There are two RobotWars series - the original UK version, and the US version. There is a remarkable difference between the two, and says something about the cultural differences of these robot-loving countries.

    The UK one is, well, British. It's all tongue-in-cheek with occasional whacky, funny, designs as well as serious competitive ones. Often the inventor's kids get to drive. When someone's machine gets ripped to shreds and they have their "exit interview" the vanquished say things like: "We had a great time; you know, they have very nice lunches here". The audience is full of cheering school kids and their families.

    On the other hand the US version is like WWF. Everything is dead serious. Testosterone levels are high, since winning is everything. The interviewers and hosts try to pump-up the thrill power of the event (whereas the UK host is a comedian).

    So the UK version doesn't take itself very seriously, whereas the US show is dipped in testoserone and macho, as I said. Now, I'm biased and prefer the UK version - for me its more fun (and I can't stand WWF anyway - but what do those Slashdoters who have seen both think?

    An if this has a parallel with the actual cultrues of the countries, what does this mean?
  • Re:Not very useful. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BigSlowTarget (325940) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @10:08AM (#12053824) Journal
    Unfortunately the rules do forbid oxygen as a fuel/combustion accelerator and generally restrict the fuel for flamethrowers to butane. If it can torch the protective lexan box its banned. Explosives are specifically forbidden. So are nukes.

    The judges know this and take the issue into account while scoring. General audience analysis concludes the best chance for a flamethrower to make progress is twofold:
    1) Increase the level of general heat in the robot. Many matches are lost because of component failure due to heating during operation (those motors and speed controllers get HOT). Adding a bit more heat might be just enough to push them over the top. This works best against robots with exposed drive elements.

    2) Fry sensitive electronic components. Wires do sometimes run outside the armor. Antennas almost always do. If the opposing designer has been casual about his wire runs or left an opening he can lose a receiver or partial function

    Both these work best if you can get through the armor first or if the other design has questionable elements
  • by luna69 (529007) * on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:08AM (#12054026)
    While I don't agree that FIRST is "superior" (I think that there's room for all kinds of robots in the empire...), I am involved as a mentor with a team from Boulder, Colorado. We've been at our regional competition for two days now, and today is the comp's final day...with the top performers getting invited to the nationals in Atlanta in April.

    FIRST really is remarkable. I've been amazed at the creativity these kids can harness, and at the solutions they've found to problems and the robots they've managed to build (in 6 weeks!). Talk about the Hacker ethos in action! And, walking around the pits for the last couple days, I've been really impressed with the overall vibe as well - nothing nasty, nothing destructive - just a bunch of kids (of all ages) having fun & helping each other out when necessary.

    Now, if my team could just score a few more games today... :)
  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @11:24AM (#12054098)
    Maybe the slashdot crowd can propose some rules to make it interesting again?

    I don't see how the designs could not converge. F1 racers all look the same. Tanks all look the same. Forklikfts all look the same. Given a fixed set of requirements, is that inevitable?

  • by Gubbe (705219) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:05PM (#12054260)
    Flat arena -> no ground clearance + fat armor + small wheels + high-speed erratic driving + hasty maneuvering.

    Fill the arena with small obstacles, uneven surfaces and high/low ground. -> Big wheels, more ground clearance, importance of good suspension and handling characteristics, more weight spend on power systems, thus less dead weight in armor.

    This makes even most current weapons such as circular saws and spikes more effective since there are more exposed wheels and less armor. This also brings a whole bunch of new tactics in play.

    They could even make it a sand arena with small hills. This could actually give a fighting chance to walking robots and other unconventional designs.
  • by Zycom (720889) <ZycomOne@ g m a i l . com> on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:20PM (#12054334)
    Yes I can.

    I'm on my high school's FIRST Robotics team. Then again, in a school of 3000 people it's easy enough to surround myself with fellow geeks and ignore the fact that the rest of the world exists.
  • Re:TV Coverage! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ThyPiGuy (870924) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @12:48PM (#12054469)
    I thought I saw something very similiar to this on TechTV a couple of years ago. It had all the same stuff, obstacle course, fighting, rope climbing, swimming, etc, but I thought it was in the UK. Maybe they moved it here. Maybe it will be on TV at some point again.
  • by wooley-one (634162) on Saturday March 26, 2005 @03:19PM (#12055217)
    Stop being an elitist asshole. Both USFIRST and BattlebotsIQ give a good deal of inspiration to the younger generation.

    USFIRST requires the kids to do considerably less fabrication. Additionally, the sheer quantity of money required to compete in USFIRST pretty much kills off most groups who would like to participate.

    BattlebotsIQ is only a $500 entry fee per bot. For the same $5k that it would cost to register for USFIRST, we're sending two teams to BattlebotsIQ with build, travel, and lodging included.

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