Help Kickstart Real-Life Mech Warfare with a New Arena

Want Mech Warfare to include obscenely dangerous weapons? If so, they'll need your help to fund a new arena

1 min read
Help Kickstart Real-Life Mech Warfare with a New Arena

You remember Mech Warfare from RoboGames: it's where people build walking robots, arm them with BB guns, and set them lose against each other in a destructible cityscape. The trick? The human pilot can't see their robot at all: the driving and shooting is all done through first-person cameras in the robots themselves, just like a video game. Except real. It's one of the most awesome things, you know, ever, and Mech Warfare needs your help building a bigger, better, and safer arena so that they can outfit their robots with even more dangerous weaponry.

If you aren't familiar Mech Warfare, here's a video showing how it all works:

As you can see, the interior of the arena is incredible, but the exterior walls are just a canvas tent, which doesn't offer much in the way of protection from CO2-powered BBs or flamethrowers or microrockets or laser cannons, which is why the robots haven't been armed with exciting things like this quite yet. With your help on Kickstarter, Mech Warfare wants to build a brand new arena out of lexan and aluminum to contain the excitement and explosions and offer a better view. The whole thing is non-profit and open source and should cost about $6,000, and once they have it up and running at the main event (RoboGames in San Francisco), they'll be able to send the new arena around the country so that regional Mech Warfare events can benefit from it as well.

Head on over to Kickstarter to check out the project, and if you like what you see, any donation over $25 will get a custom illustrated Mech Warfare poster as a reward.

[ Mech Warfare on Kickstarter ]

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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