FUTURE TECHNOLOGY Russian Military combat Robots
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Robot combat enjoyed a period of mainstream exposure in the late 1990s and early 2000s when several television shows broadcast the robot fights. Either the public or the TV network administrators lost interest, and the shows dropped from the airwaves. The most well-known of these shows were Battlebots, Robot Wars, and Robotica. Although the mainstream was lost after the cancellation of those shows, robot combat has a large dedicated cult following and there are still dozens of smaller competitions around the UK, USA and in other countries every year. Combat robots have received mention in the press and entertainment shows from time to time as well.
Robot builders may be of any age and come from any walk of life. The robots themselves can range from modified remote controlled toys weighing less than a pound to three-hundred plus pounds of exotic metallurgy and sophisticated electronics. Although building a combat robot can cost thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours, some schools use the construction of combat robots in their courses to teach mechanical design and technology. For schools that shy away from the violence of combat robots, there are robotic competition alternatives such as the cooperative competitions FIRST and BEST Robotics. Robot competitions such as RoboGames, offer a mix of combat and non-combat events.
Among the oldest robotic combat competitions extant in the United States are the "Critter Crunch" (founded about 1987) in Denver and "Robot Battles" (founded in 1991) based in the southeastern U.S. Both events are run by members of the "Denver Mad Scientists Society".
1994 - Marc Thorpe organized the first Robot Wars competition in San Francisco. Four annual competitions were held.
1997 - Rights to the Robot Wars name is transferred to British TV production company who produce the Robot Wars television series. Early seasons feature competitive games and obstacle courses as well as simple combat. The series aired 151 episodes across 12 series from 1997 to 2003. Special series were produced for the United States and the Netherlands.
1999 - Former Robot Wars competitors in the U.S. organize a new competition named BattleBots. The first tournament was shown as a webcast, with the second tournament shown as a cable 'Pay-per-view' event.
2000 - BattleBots is picked up as a weekly television program on Comedy Central. It would span five seasons ending in 2002.
2001 - Robotica appears on The Learning Channel as a weekly series. The format features tests of power, speed and maneuverability as well as combat. The show ran in three series, ending in 2002.
2002 - Foundation of the Robot Fighting League, a regulatory body composed of the organizers of robot combat events in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. The body produces a unified set of regulations and promotes the sport.
2004 - Robot Combat is included as an event at the ROBOlympics in San Francisco, California, with competitors from multiple countries.
2008 - ROBOlympics changes its name to RoboGames and, while most events are not combat related, Robot Combat is significantly featured.
Robots come in all shapes and sizes, but there are certain defining lines that robots rarely stray across, thanks to official rules and practicality. The standard by which all combat robots are measured is weight; the everyday dilemma of the robot builder is to cram as much power into as little weight as possible. Robots can be as small as the 75 gram 'Fleaweight' class, and as large as the 340-pound 'Super Heavyweight' class. The common weightclasses are as follows:
150g- Fairyweight (UK - Antweight)
1 pound (454 g) - Antweight
1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) Kilobot (Canada)
3 pound (1.36 kg) - Beetleweight
6 pound (2.72 kg) - Mantisweight
12 pound (5.44 kg) - Hobbyweight
15 pound (6.80 kg) - BotsIQ Mini class
30 pound (13.6 kg) - Featherweight
60 pound (27 kg) - Lightweight
120 pound (54 kg) - Middleweight / BotsIQ Large class
220 pound (100 kg) - Heavyweight
340 pound (154 kg) Super Heavyweight
There are some international variations in weight class - for example, UK robot builders define the UK Antweight class limit as 150g.
Weight is a precious asset for robot builders. For the sake of diversity of design, the rules often give an extra weight allotment for robots that can walk rather than roll on wheels. Such robots are more difficult to construct and their drive mechanisms are heavier. Some builders opt to build walking robots,