Saturday, November 10, 2012

Machines Behaving Badly---First Report

Weary I am at the keyboard, after a long day setting up, running and taking down the annual Machines Behaving Badly combat robotics event.  Unless there is something going on overseas that I have not heard of, I am sure that this is the biggest combat robot event for middle school kids anywhere.

25 robots.  48 matches.  In just over 4.5 hours.  Budget per robot under $20.

None of this should actually be possible, but with my gifted team of minons it is annually accomplished.

(one nuclear engineer, two electrical engineers, one English major and a "mom" who has kept helping long after her son has grown up and moved away.)

A few photos and comments.  I can usually offer up tasty video clips in a week or two....

 Part of the pit area.  In honor of hunting season and of halloween we used orange duct tape this year.

A robot named "Hellicopter"  just inside the guidelines that suggest their robot names not be something that makes their grandmother blush.  Of course, I had one kid tell me that his granny rode a Harley....

I really liked this robot.  It had immaculate camo style decor.  Here it has suffered a bit of battle damage, and as you can see this student took the atypical engineering approach of making his robot partly out of a wicker basket.  When it hit the spinning Chains of Doom the arena was littered with little bits of straw!

We gave it the Best Design award.  As the rules for this are unpublished and arbitrary we sometimes award it for coldly efficient design, or for far out innovative design.  Here...just for the pleasing aesthetics!

Not sure why this robot has the plastic butt of a chopped off troll doll as its figurehead.  It ended up winning the 3 pound championship match, so must have done some good.

For the final matches I ask the students if they want to go by "Mad Max" rules.  This year all four finalists were up for it.  No timer, no judges, fresh batteries.

"Two bots enter....One bot leaves"

So, having raised as of old the Black Flag of No Quarter...

The End for the second place finisher in the 3 pound class.

The End for the one pound second place robot.

A good time had by injuries, lots of good competition.

At the end we allowed all robots still operational to pile into the arena at once in something I like to think of as a Performance Art version of Balkan History...

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