At a high school near you, you would imagine this scene. A young, skinny, pale kid talking about robotics, engineering, and electronics. The screams of NEERRDDDD would suddenly ring through the halls, and within seconds, said kid would likely find himself shoved in a locker. He would want to one day prove that robotics was indeed useful, saving lives around the world in fields stretching from medicine to bomb disposal. But some people just can’t be swayed, so robotics would have to go a different way to attract the audiences that it deserved. That’s where Battlebots, Robot Wars, and other forms of Combat Robots would come in.
A Long Journey
If you’ve heard of Battlebots, for instance, the show went back to 1999. Robot Wars went as far back as 1994. Robot combat was started on a table-top surface and eventually evolved to the first Robot Wars competitions in the mid-90’s. After the BBC bought the rights to Robot Wars, us Americans realized that we wanted to keep bashing each other’s skulls in with hammers, saws, and crushing arms. That’s when Battlebots came along. After two tournaments, Comedy Central picked up the series and it gained popularity, even getting a McDonald’s toy deal. Competitors ranged from serious, destructive machines, to wacky entrants and hobbyists.
Unfortunately, the series ended in 2002, after 5 years.
Battlebots is Back!
After a 13 year hiatus, Battlebots returned to living rooms around the world, using the latest technology to become more destructive than ever. The novelty entries were more or less discouraged as stronger robots with better armour and even more destructive weapons hit the scene. Teams are now spending tens of thousands of dollars on their robots, a far cry from the hobbyists that would make their robots from spare parts. These are professionals. The arena itself costs $1,000,000 per hour to use, as safety is the number one priority. Seeing these blades spinning in excess of 300mph, it’s a wonder nobody has been killed.
But it’s all part of some good, destructive entertainment, isn’t it? Here are some fights from the most recent season, highlighting different types of robots:
Blacksmith vs Minotaur
Here, we see flaming hammer taking on a drum spinner that spins at 12,000 RPM. This is the most watched robot combat match in Youtube history.
Beta vs Lucky
This time, it’s a launching robot taking on a powerful hammer.
Complete Control vs Bombshell
Here, we can see the use of a flamethrower for the first time.
Happy New Years!
May 2017 bring even more robotic carnage!#wewantseason3
— All Black Robotics (@Black_Robotics) January 1, 2017
With Battlebots and robot combat getting more and more popular, we should be seeing more on TV right? Wrong. So far, ABC, the channel that broadcasts Battlebots, has yet to renew the show. In Britain, a similar show, Robot Wars, was renewed for a second series. However, in America, the hunger for robot combat remains strong. The hashtag #WeWantSeason3 has been used in an attempt to get ABC executives to renew the show. While fans have been using the #WeWantSeason3 hashtag, no announcement has been made. If 250 pound robots trying to kill each other aren’t cool, we don’t know what is. Hopefully, for the sake of robotics and STEM research, it will get renewed soon. Maybe it will continue to stir interest in sciences in young kids.
The kid stuffed in a locker sure hopes so.