Kicking ‘bot

Last weekend i attended a high school “Battle Bot” competition.  In case you’ve not heard of the Battle Bots, there are some nice examples to be found here, and video from the televised version here.  This is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon if you are a lifeless geek want to support enterprising students – and see remote-controlled weaponized mini-tanks knock the shit out of each other.

We arrived* in time for the finals, a single elimination tournament pairing up winners from the morning prelim competition.  Sitting ringside, the battles raged a few feet from in front of us – we were protected only by a wall of plexiglass.  Techno-music blared as the competitors lined up their ‘bots, grasped the remote control consoles and buzzed forward into battle.

Had i been on the parental organizing team, i would have been the mother in the back, raising funds through illegal wagers.  The students were brilliant – teams from each school wearing matching shirts and safety goggles (of course) when nearing the arena.  i was blown away by the sophistication of the design and construction!  This was big, sparking, noisy fun!

Given my bug-eyed, salivating fascination obvious engagement in the festivities, my companion suggested that i sponsor my own renegade team next year.  Fabulous idea!  i set to work planning my approach!

The team would be enhanced through diversity – i could bring more of the general student body into the process, using students from band, music and theater.  Our ‘bot would be a much more refined ‘bot than the nasty, brutish things – a ‘bot about town!  Perhaps wearing fashionable gear, color coordinated weapons and performing to Broadway show tunes instead of techno or death metal. 

My student competitors would be wearing costumes from the theater department – perhaps with an Elizibethan theme one year, and a 1950’s sock hop theme the next.  Students from the culinary arts program would be brought in to provide catering for our team, and the cosmetology crew would provide spa services.  Competition is tough, and students would need nourishment and relaxation… Bringing a full service support staff teaches a valuable lesson in strategic thinking!

My friend pointed out that this team would instantaneously become the target of ridicule for every other team.  “Precisely!” i answered!  Which means they’d never see it coming when the fluffy ‘bot facade melted away, revealing a titanium and kevlar “death ‘bot”, shooting flames and sharpened projectiles at the unprepared lesser-bots.  Along the lines of the parade float in Animal House, the “lady ‘bot” would mercilessly destroy all comers – and perhaps bust up a few stereotypes along the way!

Fuzzy cell phone shot of arena – during the six ‘bot “rumble” – a grudge match among those who’d lost in the early rounds!  Shame you can’t see the smoke and sparks flying…

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* Much to my surprise, we were the only people in attendance not parenting one of the competitors.  Equally surprised we weren’t arrested for being stalker/molesters…  And yes, it’s kind of an odd date, but it works for me…  🙂

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11 thoughts on “Kicking ‘bot

  1. My eyes were already rolling in a “Gawd! Women ruin everything!” kind of fashion by the time I reached the last paragraph. Great save daisy fae!

  2. There was a TV series of these years ago, out of England (Compered by one of the Red Dwarf crew, from memory). I loved it and would like to see a lot more of this activity – under controlled conditions! Fluffy bot is someone I would not mess with!

  3. Damn. Why don’t they do that here?

    In our cultural tradition parents gather around an open field to cheer and watch the children beat the crap out of each other. I think they call it rugby.

  4. rob – Can’t believe you really thought i was gonna go all “girlie” on you… not unless it suits some evil, macho-driven purpose…

    archie – There were a couple ‘monster garage’ programs like this that i adored! “Junkyard Wars” was another one… i wanted to sponsor an “educational outreach” event to encourage more youngsters to enter the science, engineering fields… no one wanted me to do it. wonder why?

    kyknoord – thought your brain would be preoccupied with having, um, tea… heh, heh, heh…

    nm – don’t worry. there’ll be nothing but bluegrass and yodeling – along with some Celine Dion to mix it up… and i’m not bringing the ‘bots. uncle keith would have a stroke at the thought of us spending a week together with mechanical toys of any sort…

    MdW – Hmmm… if you could implant a control chip in the kid and give the parents remote controls. Let the children wear spikes/leather and carry knives? (Think “Thunderdome”). i’d be willing to run the wagering for that event…

  5. Loved the BattleBot video. Now I know why they cage them behind plexiglass. Those things are dangerous. And I am so into seeing the “lady bot” kick ass and take names.

  6. We mentor one of the local high schools with their ‘bot program. Is the one you went to affiliated wth the US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science & Technology) Robotics Challenge?

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