Robot Overlords Battle For World Supremacy

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Like so many epic robot battles, this one began in Tokyo, Japan. Pairs of robots stepped into a padded ring to fight, each vying for the chance to knock over and trounce their opponent. Some punched, some pushed, some just tried to stay on their feet. In the end, only one bot remained to be crowned champion of the carnge. Is the Tokyo skyline irrevocably damaged? Did millions perish in the mechanical melee? No, not this time. All the fighting robots were under one meter in height and were made from kits produced by the Kondo company who sponsored the second year of this open competition called Kondo Battle.

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Build your own Kondo robot to do battle with others!

Kondo kits are fairly simple for robot enthusiasts, though some may contain more than a hundred individual parts. For the Kondo Battle, each robot was humanoid in shape, but the wide range of available parts allowed for a good variation in size and strategy. I was impressed by the relative steady movement the gyros and stabilizers could produce, especially during fights where a bot managed to defeat an opponent without taking its own tumble.  Check out an overview of the intense robot-on-robot action in this news brief from IDG news services:

With the RoboGames coming to San Francisco next month (stay tuned to Singularity Hub for news and coverage), the Kondo Battle was a good preview of some of the models and fighting styles that will be used. In most robot fights, victory is equally dependent on the controller as on the robot itself. Kondo Battle, however, showed at least one robot (the wonderfully named Black Tiger Neo) that used sensors and preprogrammed movements to guide its own actions. Though the bot didn’t finish first, it held its own. The open class winner was Gargoil, who trounced Armdoll in the final round. The winning strategy: big feet, tall bot, scythe like hands, and a fencer’s lunge to knock over the competition. Check it out:

In the grand scheme of things, toy robot battles may not seem like the most Earth-shattering of news. The robots of the future, however, will be built by those researchers whose enthusiasm is sparked today. I also hope that the competition will breed a wide-spread interest in robotics as a hobby. The more people who know and understand these mechanical devices, the more likely we will use them responsibly and safely. And it gives humans a fighting chance in case the robots rise up to take control. Er…I mean, I welcome our new robot overlords. All Hail Gargoil!

Discussion — 6 Responses

  • David Wood May 15, 2009 on 7:12 pm

    Pretty cool, but is there any AI in these guys (at least some to keep them on their feet) or are they just RC bots controlled by playstation controllers? The word robots gets thrown around so much, but I really feel that it isn’t a robot unless their is at least a little AI under the hood.

  • David Wood May 15, 2009 on 3:12 pm

    Pretty cool, but is there any AI in these guys (at least some to keep them on their feet) or are they just RC bots controlled by playstation controllers? The word robots gets thrown around so much, but I really feel that it isn’t a robot unless their is at least a little AI under the hood.

  • Nick May 15, 2009 on 9:26 pm

    We used to play video games simulating robots battling one another. Now we use video game controller to actually battle robots against one another.

    Childhood fantasies are becoming reality on an almost daily basis.

  • Nick May 15, 2009 on 5:26 pm

    We used to play video games simulating robots battling one another. Now we use video game controller to actually battle robots against one another.

    Childhood fantasies are becoming reality on an almost daily basis.

  • Robert Riley May 17, 2009 on 7:02 pm

    Dave, to address your issue it looks like the Kondo KHR-2 does allow for some automated control in addition to the manual remote control, although from the pages I googled I couldn’t tell how extensive the programming would is.

    The KHR-2 looks a bit similar to the Bioloid robot I just read about. They provide a pretty decent graphical programming interface and the robot is capable of many different physical configurations.

    Writeup on the Bioloid: http://www.syntheticthought.com/st/robotics/43/112

  • Robert Riley May 17, 2009 on 3:02 pm

    Dave, to address your issue it looks like the Kondo KHR-2 does allow for some automated control in addition to the manual remote control, although from the pages I googled I couldn’t tell how extensive the programming would is.

    The KHR-2 looks a bit similar to the Bioloid robot I just read about. They provide a pretty decent graphical programming interface and the robot is capable of many different physical configurations.

    Writeup on the Bioloid: http://www.syntheticthought.com/st/robotics/43/112