Back then, Brazilian competitions were very
different from today. Most robots weren’t powerful
enough to inflict any major damage on adversaries.
The rivalry was very intense, not only among teams
but also between the various states around Brazil.
The cheering was sometimes too passionate,
resembling a street fight crowd. A few teams insisted
on covering their robots in the pits (as if, during the
competition, there would be time for competitors to
modify their robots to take advantage of any obvious
weak spots). The competition was fun, but there was
not too much sharing of information.
Things changed after Paulo and Thacia, the
organizers of Brazil’s largest combat event (the
Brazilian equivalent of Dave and Simone), attended
RoboGames 2005. They had a wonderful experience
— completely different from the Brazilian events back
then. Not only were the combots more powerful and
destructive, but the builders were much more mature
and friendly. Paulo and Thacia gathered a lot of
information about building combots and pit etiquette,
and shared it with the Brazilian community on their
They also shared several videos from RoboGames
2005 which inspired many teams to attend the event
the following year (especially our own RioBotz). But the
combat videos were scary! Most Brazilian robots were
not even close to that level! Our relatively unstable
middleweight spinner Ciclone would be flipped over for
sure against any well-built wedge, and its 1/4” thick,
low-grade aluminum structure would be cut like butter
by powerful spinners.
This was when there was a huge upgrade in the
RioBotz robots. RioBotz had been winning
most Brazilian events with a middleweight
robot that was not invertible and whose
weapon energy was the same as the one
from our current featherweight. We were
lucky – we never had any major damage
inflicted on us. In fact, you only learn your
robot’s limits when something breaks.
Our spinning bar broke once in Brazil,
which led us to improve the weapon
system. Unfortunately, our armor was still
lousy by RoboGames standards. To
change that, we started designing Touro
in late 2005. It would be an invertible
middleweight combot with a powerful
spinning drum. We also designed and
built our first beetleweight combot, Mini
Touro, to compete at RoboGames 2006.
Our sponsors didn’t have the money
to send the team to RoboGames 2006, so
all the students who attended had to pay
for their own ticket and hotel room. This
is pretty much how it still is today, since
it’s not cheap to compete overseas – but
FIGURE 3. All Brazilians competing in 2006.
Figure 4. Front armor.
SERVO 03.2010 37