No Wheels, No Mercy

We always like when a designer does something different. After all, it is easy just to do what everyone else is doing. But to see things a different way is always interesting to us. When you think of a battle bot, you probably think of a robot with wheels or tracks, attacking other robots in an arena. But [Shea Waffles Johns] created Big Cookie, a combat bot with no wheels. Instead, it is a spinning wheel of death that moves relatively slowly. The robot makes up for that by having a mini-robot helper that brings Big Cookie its prey.

With no wheels and motors for locomotion, the robot can focus on armor and weapon force. It certainly looks dangerous spinning on the floor.

We would prefer seeing autonomous robots fighting, but we enjoyed seeing a different design. How did it do? Well, in the video, one match went to Big Cookie, and it lost one match. The chaotic third match wasn’t a good showing for the robot, either. But we have no doubt there will be improvements, and Big Cookie’s record will get better.

There isn’t a lot of detail about the build, but you could probably build something similar just from looking at the idea. Of course, we’ve seen other combat robots without wheels, including one that walks. Maybe we are a bit odd, but we enjoy seeing the post-mortem analysis as much as the actual matches.

15 thoughts on “No Wheels, No Mercy

  1. If they find a way to actually pilot it, and to stop the random failures, it could be the greatest robot. They could probably steer it by measuring the angle of rotation and by varying the speed at just the right time.

    1. If it had a powered retractable off centre spike it could use it combined with rotational momentum to β€œthrow” itself around, not precise but powerful (if it worked).

    2. I’ve heard that referred to as “meltybot” and I’ve seen a few combat robots run that way. It does work, although it’s typically pretty slow to move relative to normal wheeled drive

      1. Melty brains use wheeled drive to spin in a circle very fast. They typically get translational movement by braking the drive at the correct time. Works very well in the lighter weight classes. Not seen one do the same by shifting mass around, but it’s an interesting idea.

    1. If drivers of hammer bots weren’t universally bad at deploying their hammer weapons at the right time, a hammer bot would make this Cookie bot mix-master itself. Get the hammer stuck through one of those bit openings in the top of the shell and it would get a few rotations of ripping the guts out of itself.

      It would jerk the attacking bot around a lot, but the overgrown bristle bot would be dead.

      1. Do you think some onboard sensors and mcu trickery could help that hammer fall at the right time?

        I’m thinking human-in-the-loop control, where a button allows the robot to attack while it’s depressed – but leave the timing to the machine.

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