and complexity was not a good fit for a thousand
screaming kids. Frank didn’t make the cut.
My second attempt was a larger bot called
Rover (Figure 2). He was originally going to be an
automated bot, but I thought he could be turned
into a fighting robot with a few changes to his
initial design. (See him in action at www.you
The problem with Rover was that he was too
large. I would have to devote a very large area to
the arena, and put up protective barriers so the kids
couldn’t get hurt. This proved to be too much.
Rover would not be making the trip.
I went back to an early design and made some basic
changes. What I came up with was a bot called PROCS
(Figure 3). PROCS stands for “Precision Robotic Cube
Sumo.” (You can see them in action at
I built a 5’ x 5’ arena that could be
easily transported and had small sides
to keep the bots from flipping out of it.
The arena itself could be placed on a
couple of tables which would be at a
good height for spectators. PROCS
would be going to the fair.
The show turned out to be a great
success (Figure 4). Hundreds of kids had a blast. We had a
line of kids waiting to play with the bots from the opening
until closing each day of the event. Our booth crew had to
take shifts to manage the contests.
The bots held up very well considering. They lost a lot
SERVO 11.2013 43
Figure 1. Figure 2.