and this year the Beetles debuted. This summer, for the
first time there will also be Lightweights, and
flamethrowers are now allowed.
The event also includes 3 kg R/C Sumo, 3 kg auto
Sumo, LEGO Sumo, 15 lb hockey, and line follower
Is there a sponsor for this event?
Paulo Lenz, who owns RoboCore, takes care of
everything. The competitors must pay fees, just like at
RoboGames or COMBOTs. They also have an online
store, probably the only one in Brazil focused on
COMBOTs. The nice thing about the event is that they
choose a venue and city in such a way that the audience
does not need to pay for tickets, arrange sponsorship
with the local mayor, etc.
This seems to have started as a
student competition. Is it still for
students, or have you grown a
It’s a much larger community, even though most
competitors are still students or alumni that previously
participated as students. There are teachers competing,
as well. And, of course, hobbyists and even robot
companies such as the owners of Orion.
You bring teams every year to
RoboGames. What do your teams
think about competing there, as
different from Brazilian events?
The competition is surely tougher in the US, even
though the gap has been diminishing with time.
Competing in the US is still the ultimate challenge. The
events in Brazil are, however, more passionate than in
the US, the rivalry is much more intense, especially when
you have dozens of students from each university in the
audience, cheering for their teams. But, despite the
intense rivalry, most teams end up helping each other.
You did an event on ice a few years
back. Please tell us about that —
it sounds "cool!"
It was very cool and surreal. Back then, there was
just one vertical spinner, so it was feasible. Nowadays,
with so many powerful drumbots (there are a lot in
Brazil, from other teams, probably inspired by the
success of the Touro family) and vertical disk spinners
FIGURE 2. Dr. Meggiolaro wrote the highly
popular Riobotz Tutorial which can be
downloaded for free online.
here, the arena wouldn’t survive many matches. Not to
mention low clearance horizontal spinners which would
make the arena look like the moon surface.
The main challenge was to get good traction.
Several fights were won simply by outmaneuvering the
opponent and hitting them while they were struggling
to make turns on the ice. In the RioBotz tutorial, there’s
a photo of the wheel we came up with. It was perfect
for ice traction, and led Touro to its victory in the final
match against the vertical disk spinner, Vingador.
We simply used a Colson wheel, with flat head self-drilling screws attached along the circumference in a
single row. We would get a great traction in both
forward and reverse since the screws were attached
alternately with angles of plus or minus 45 degrees. A
single row would sink much better into the ice than a
double row (we tested several screw configurations).
You produced the RioBotz Combots
Tutorial, which reads like a physics
book. What came first, the lessons
or the bots? In other words, did you
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