SERVO 10.2016 19
journey. Bring your towel.
This is the obvious
implementation of The Law: a simple
line. Performances are for the purpose
of showing off robot combat, and are
intended to produce an entertainment
product. Competitions are for the
express purpose of destroying
In between, there is a spectrum
that is theoretically possible, but
difficult in practice to define. I would
contend the current BattleBots™show
is around 90% performance and 10%
competition. (Your mileage may vary).
RoboGames, while a ticketed event, is
about 80/20 the other way.
Yes, I know that sports are both
competition and entertainment. I
would submit that the presence of
television has a lot to do with where a
game falls on the spectrum.
A college football game without
TV coverage plays for 60 timed
minutes, with breaks only at quarters
and halftime, and no more than six
The intent is to produce a winner.
Televised games — besides the above
breaks — also stop whenever a guy
with a red hat wanders on the field.
Yes, it still produces a winner, but the
dynamic is different when teams get a
lot more breaks, and the game goes
The Second Dimension
The second dimension that drives
EOs is this: How much time do I have
for this event? Is my venue restricted
to certain hours? Am I trying to adhere
to a particular published fight
schedule? Many events are completely
schedule independent. “Starts at 10:00
am” is more of an opinion than a fact.
Check-in run long? No problem. Need
more time to charge batteries?
Most of the events I’ve been at
and many I’ve run echo
with the sound of the
Bracket Bunny yelling,
“Anybody got a bot that
can fight now? Anyone?” while they
frantically shuffle fight trees around on
the white board. You take who shows
up, you build your brackets, and you
go until it’s done, whether it’s 2 pm or
Other events (usually those with a
heavy performance component) need a
more structured approach. If the goal
of the event is to show off robot
combat as part of a larger event, say a
Maker Faire, then starting and
stopping per a schedule can become a
major factor in how an event is run.
Personal CNC Mills
PCNC 1100 Series 3
Shown here with
Shown below is an articulated humanoid
robot leg, built by researchers at the
Drexel Autonomous System Lab (DASL)
with a Tormach PCNC 1100 milling
machine. DASL researcher Roy Gross
estimates that somewhere between 300
and 400 components for “HUBO+” has
been machined on their PCNC 1100.