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RoboGames: The World's Largest Robot Competition Is Back

This massive robotics event is back, and it starts on Friday

1 min read
RoboGames: The World's Largest Robot Competition Is Back
Photo: RoboGames

Last year, RoboGames asked for Kickstarter support to resurrect itself after taking a break for 2014. The robotics community delivered, pledging nearly US $50,000 to bring the world’s largest robotics competition back to Northern California. This Friday, RoboGames 2015 opens in San Mateo, with 56 events, including 220-pound heavyweight robot combat and, uh, some other stuff.

Grant Imahara, one of the guys from MythBusters who’s not that one guy or that other guy and who actually knows a thing or two about combat robots, will be hosting the event.

As always, we have to remind you that while the heavyweight robot combat is by far the loudest, smashiest, and occasionally-on-fire-est, fans of true robots (something with an autonomous component as opposed to overgrown R/C cars) will not be disappointed at RoboGames. Expect to see autonomous humanoid events, autonomous sumo robots, autonomous firefighting, autonomous navigation, and even a 3-pound autonomous combat class.

If you can’t make it out to California because you suddenly live in some place far away like Washington, D.C. (sigh), part of the deal with the Kickstarter was that RoboGames would produce a series of professional-quality videos, put together by “a crack production crew,” that will be available on DVD, Blu-ray, and online, at some point after the end of the competition. The episodes will likely focus on heavyweight combat, but we’re hoping that they’ll find room to cover some of the other events as well.

RoboGames starts tomorrow afternoon in San Mateo, Calif., and runs through Sunday evening. A full list of events is avilable here.

[ RoboGames ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

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

12 min read
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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