Just When You Think Everything In Robotic Combat Has Been Tried Before…

Since the first combat robots emerged around three decades ago, it seems as though every conceivable configuration has been tried at some point or other. Whether it’s a two-wheeled wedgebot, a walker, a four-wheeled flip-bot, or whatever, someone’s already been there. But how about a self-righting taco with a novel two-wheel drive system? It’s called Taco Tuesday, its team lead [Carter Hurd] has sent us the video below the break, and it’s worth a second look because the technique might find a place outside the arena.

The robot with [Carter] sitting behind it

So what exactly is novel about this bot? It has a single big fat wheel near the front in a longitudinal direction, and a larger slimmer one at the back in a transverse direction. The former wheel propels it around the arena while the latter wheel acts as a rear-wheel steering system, allowing it to pivot round and face an attacker very quickly indeed.

It’s this maneuverability which we think could find an application in other machines, though the same problem they have of sideways friction on that rear wheel would need to be overcome.

The video follows the bot through a BattleBots competition in Las Vegas, and shows us some of the damage they receive in combat. The drive system needs a bit more refinement, but this outing certainly proves it has plenty of potential.

Some of us here at Hackaday have a bit of a soft spot for fighting robots.

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Ever Wonder How The Bots On Robot Wars Were Built?

Building a robot that can do anything well is a tough challenge. Building one that can stand up to another robot trying to violently put it out of commission is an even harder task. But it makes for some entertaining television! It is this combination that thrust a few creative robot building teams into the world of Robot Wars.

SMIDSY in the pits for series 5 of the UK Robot Wars TV show. From left to right: [Andy Pugh], [Robin Bennett], and [Mik Reed]. RIP [Mik].
SMIDSY in the pits for series 5 of the UK Robot Wars TV show. From left to right: [Andy Pugh], [Robin Bennett], and [Mik Reed]. RIP [Mik].
SMIDSY, short for the insubstantial excuse heard by many a motorcyclist “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You”, is a robot that competed in several seasons of the British incarnation of the Robot Wars TV show. It wasn’t the most successful of machines because its weapons were slightly weedy compared to some of the competition, but it was one of the more robust and reliable platforms on the circuit at the time thanks to its combination of simple uncomplicated construction and extremely good design. I had the pleasure of being on the team that built and competed with SMIDSY and carry from it some of the more found memories from that decade.

A few weeks ago I learned that a friend from that period in my life had died following an illness. I hadn’t seen [Mik] for a few years as our lives had drifted apart, but if we were to turn back the clock nearly a couple of decades you would find us and about twenty other fellow members of the Ixion British motorcyclist’s mailing list hard at work building a Robot Wars robot.

The hard work and determination make this a great story. But even more so it’s fun to look back on the state of the art of the time and see some clever workarounds in a time when robot building was just starting to be approachable by the average engineer.

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