RoboGames Land at San Francisco This Weekend

San Francisco locals, this is your lucky weekend.  Well, as long as you’re sufficiently interested in robotics, it is.  The Robo Games have come to town and will inhabit the Fort Mason Festival Pavillion (whatever that is) for the weekend.  Formerly known as the RobOlympics before the Olympic Committee got all cease-and-desist on the robo-folks, this veritable geek-fest (voted top ten geek-fest in the nation by Wired Magazine) promises 70 different events and endless hours of weekend entertainment.  Read on, be tantalized, and book a last-minute trip to San Francisco.


With so many events taking place in one weekend, there really is a big draw for almost any type of robot enthusiast.  For the humanoid robot lovers, there are the autonomous humanoid robot challenges, including basketball, weight lifting, a soccer tournament and a marathon.  Other categories include Sumo, where two opponents try and knock each other out of a ring, self-navigating robots, art-bots and a junior league for the wee ones.

The most bad-ass event, however, is combat.  Robot fighting was made popular a few years back by the now defunct television show BattleBots.  The entrants (robots only, humans stay outside) are locked in a cage made of bulletproof glass and are let to tear each other apart.  The last robot that is still functional is declared the winner.  This type of absolute carnage bears semblance to the Ultimate Fighting that is oh so popular nowadays, except blood is replaced with hydraulic fluid while fists become saws, claws and prison shanks.  Honestly, it may be worth shelling out the ticket price just to witness this in person.

Tickets for the event are being sold on the Robo Games website at $20 a pop, but if you’re less than 17 years old, expect five dollars off and if you’re on active duty in the military or an infant, entrance is free.  If you’re still not convinced about how absolutely awesome yet geeky this event is, take a look at the video below.  While the host might be considered, well, a douche, it gives a great overview of all the events that are going on this weekend.

This is a fun one, for sure.  Perhaps these robots will not be saving lives or unlocking the mysteries of the past, but the advancements in technology that are able to bring amateur robot builders together to emulate human activities is quite an impressive feat.  The competitors in this event may now only be making robotic toys, but these same people are eventually going to usher in the next era of robotics.  Nobody knows what lies in the future but, since the robots that are already in development are quite capable as is, any further advancement surely will be an even greater leap forward.  Check back here on Singularity Hub next week for some footage and highlights of the event.

Andrew Kessel
Andrew Kessel
Andrew is a recent graduate of Northeastern University in Boston, MA with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. While at Northeastern, he worked on a Department of Defense project intended to create a product that adsorbs and destroys toxic nerve agents and also worked as part of a consulting firm in the fields of battery technology, corrosion analysis, vehicle rollover analysis, and thermal phenomena. Andrew is currently enrolled in a Juris Doctorate program at Boston College School of Law.
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