Robots face off in 8th annual RoboGames

April 15, 2011 7:46:48 PM PDT
Competitors from across the country and even overseas will be climbing into cages and engaging in mortal combat. Except that the contestants are robots.

It looks like fun and games, but the cost to build one of these combat robots can run upwards of $2,000, not to mention an engineering team putting in hundreds of hours into design and practice.

It is all for the eighth annual RoboGames.

In one match-up, an entry called Lucifer's Footstool won over Question Wedge in its first ever competition. Gary Gin was advising them every step along the way. He has competed ever year at the RoboGames.

"They took the time to build it properly, we made sure we got the right parts, they took the time to learn how to drive, that's a big part of this game," Gin said.

Veterans say a wedge design tends to be the most stable, but fans love the more daring ones.

The teams hail from as far away as Brazil, each in search of bragging rights that their robot is the best.

One mom even flew in from Anchorage to take in the competition.

"These are the next engineers of the world right here, these guys are going to figure it out for us," Nancy Cumberland said.

To win, competitors have to figure out whether to use aluminum, steel or titanium. Even the choice of batteries can make a difference in terms of weight and output, variables these budding engineers will need to know in the future as they design cars, bridges and, yes, even sophisticated robots.

One can only wonder what the future holds, given the changes in robotics and computers. What if you crossed a combat robot with, say, Watson?

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