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Just for fun - Battlebots

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I can't imagine any engineer in our audience who would not be mesmerized by
the program on Comedy Central called "Battlebots". You can check out the
online video clips at: http://www.comedycentral.com/bots/index_flash.shtml
For those who are not familiar with Battlebots, they are mechanical machines
powered by remote controlled robotics that battle one another on an enclosed
area with traps built into the floor. Some of the traps include lifting
ramps to throw the Bot's off balance so as to disable them, other traps are
more fiendish and contain rotating titanium metal saw blades that come up
from the floor to slice through these 200 pound plus machines.
Each bot is a vehicle designed to strike at its opponents weak points using
electronics, hydraulics, structural mechanics and hybrid materials. The most
successful are low to the ground and wide based - designed to protect the
weakest elements. The most successful is "Vlad the Impailer" which is more
rectangular in shape, but uses a compressed C02 gas titanium (and razor
sharp) "impailers" that jab and penetrate the opposing bot. Vlad then uses a
hydraulic system to uplift and drag it's opponent over the cutting blades in
the contest floor. More than 2000 hours went into the design and
construction of Vlad whose builder stands outside of the high impact plastic
booth controlling the Battlebots movements by remote control. Bot owners
pair off to do battle within the given space and in within a time limit.
Bot's that make it unscathed are judged by a panel for aggressiveness and
effective contact.
I love this program. I saw the first one some months back and have been
following the program since. As an engineer, I am amazed how my instinct for
mechanics or statics can be wrong when overcome by other stronger elements
such as hydraulics. Still it is fairly easy to tell which machines will do
the worst - those that have protrusions for protection that can be broken
off and those where the wheels are vulnerable to damage from direct attack.
I highly recommend this program if only from the inventiveness of the
robotics and the ingenuity of the designers who are sponsored by major
companies who contribute to vehicle design.
I'd like to hear from others who have seen this program - be prepared for
something akin to the old Road Warrior Movies.


Regards,
Dennis S. Wish, PE
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