No Gain With ut Pain
Franklin Institute 2009
The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA ( www2.fi.edu)
holds their “World Space Week”
each autumn and hosted the
Northeast Robotics Club’s (www
. nerc.us) big autumn competition
on Saturday, October 3rd.
The Institute is a modern style
science museum. It is housed in a
magnificent building in downtown
Philadelphia. The beautiful rotunda
is dominated by a very large statue
of a seated Benjamin Franklin
(Figure 1). It also boasts an IMAX
movie theater, and the main
stairwell has a working Foucault’s
Pendulum (Figure 2).
Robot Day at the museum was
not just a combat event. Several FIRST
teams demonstrated their bots
(Figure 3), Replicas of B- 9 from the
TV series Lost in Space, and multiple
R2D2s (Figure 4) were there, along
with some props from the I, Robot
movie, including a brown-eyed
Sonny — and lots of other displays
including an interesting new angle
● by Pete Smith
on Children’s Parties: Robogladiators
( www.robogladiators.com). They
had various fighting party bots and
a self-balancing (Segway style), two
wheeled “Knight” (Figure 5).
Last year, the combat event was
run over two days but this year was
condensed into just one hectic day of
action. Competitors started arriving
before 8.00 AM on Saturday morning
and fights got going by about 10. 30.
There were five different weight
classes taking part, from the 1 lb Ants
up to the 30 lb Featherweight and
Sportsman classes. Teams had traveled
from as far away as the Carolinas to
take part in what is shaping up to
be the premier autumn event for
small bots in the East.
The arena and pits were in a
different section of the museum
than that of the last couple years.
The new location made for easier
viewing of the arena but meant that
the pits were a little tight for space.
The Ants fought round-robin
with Drum Poco Tambor
dominating; last year’s winner Otis
took second and Decidedly
Undecided took a creditable third.
The Beetle class was also round-robin. Titanium clad drum bot The
Rolling Pin (Figure 6) won through
to first place by combining reliability
and a little bit of good luck. Blade
Spinner Maniac Kathy took second,
losing only to the winner when its
blade came loose. Rugged wedge
Cloud of Suspicion took third place.
A larger field of 12 lb
Hobbyweights allowed the usual
double elimination competition. Last
year’s winner Scurrie (Figure 7) and
last year’s second place (and twice
Motorama Champion) Surgical Strike
combined with recent arrival from
the west coast Fiasco (Figure 8) and
also Deranged (with its new “in
drum” brushless motor; Figure 9) to
form a tough field.
A notable fight was Deranged
vs. Flatline where Flatline absorbed
a couple of huge hits to win when
his adversary ended up inverted.
Scurrie repeated last year’s reliability
to fight its way through tough fights
against Fiasco and Surgical Strike to
take first place for the second year
in a row. Flatline grabbed second
and a problem plagued Surgical
Strike got third.
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