The Patriot News – July 2002
Collin Wayans was disappointed he didn’t get to see any flying debris, twisted metal and smoking gears. But he still got to see some bot get kicked.
“It was better than I thought it would be,” the 9-year-old Carlisle bov said. “It was actually pretty cool.”
Colin was one of the more than 40 people gathered to watch the first Antweight Armageddon robot battle yesterday afternoon at the Yellow Breeches Middle School, sponsored by PennBots, the Robot Club of Pennsylvania. Eight contestants from the Carlisle area and as far away as State College and Wyomissing vied for the title of king of the robotic ring.
Each of the remote controlled robots could weigh no more than a pound.
Contestants won by pushing their opponents off the 4-foot-square platform or rendering their foes inoperable during one 3-minute round battle. If
a fight went the distance, three judges decided the winner.
Thinking they would see robots weighing hundreds of pounds. like the ones on the television show “BattleBots,” many of the youngsters in the crowd had to readjust their expectations but soon realized they were having just as much fun.
“DeathWedgie,” above, a robot controlled by Joseph Osborne of South Middleton Twp.,defeated “Mouser,” controlled by Dave Kelley of Middlesex Twp.
“I wasn’t too impressed when I first saw them.” said Keith Wilson, 13, a curious spectator from South Middleton Twp. “But now I want to build one for next year.”
The event is the brainchild of Joseph Osborne, a robotics engineer and designer from South Middleton Twp.
Last winter, Osborne began teaching a class on how to build a battling robot at the Carlisle High School Adult Night School, and the class turned into the PennBots club. “It all started from the class and steamrolled into the contest,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest out there in this.”
Osborne said he believes the generation that will build domestic robots, such as R2-D2 and C-3PO from the “Star Wars” movies, has just been born, and he wants to be involved with them.
“I want to know them. I want to work with them,” he said. “They’re the ones that
will turn the technology into more than just a concept.”
The winner of the contest, Jon Durand, 17, from Wyomissing, heard about the contest on the Internet, in a chat room devoted to fighting robot enthusiasts.
For Durand, building his robot, “Conceptual Chaos” out of a remote-controlled car with compact discs for wheels and vacuum cleaner belts for traction, complete with a swinging wedge with a nail on it was only half the fun.
“It’s fun to build them, but I love the potential destruction,” he said.
The contest was a first for both Durand and his creation Osborne hopes to see Durand and more competitors at next year’s event. “We’ll be here next year,” Osborne said. “As long as there is interest, we will be here.”
Celebrating a win in one of the rounds of antweight robot
competition are, from left, Daniel Barber, 9, of Mount Holly
Springs; Dustin Hoch, 9, of Gardners; and Jake Markle, 10, of Mount Holly Springs.
The Patriot News – February 2004
It’s ultimate fighting on wheels, demolition derby without drivers. Robot Conflict, a tournament conducted by the Northeast Robotics Club, was a popular attraction yesterday at the 26th annual Motorama, which continues today at the Farm Show Complex.
The tournament’s elimination rounds drew hundreds of spectators to the SmallArena, where sparks flew and onlookers ooohed and aaahed and applauded as the robots rumbled in a bullet-proof glass cage.
Rambyte, owned by Carl Lewis of San Diego, flips after colliding with Amish Rebellion, owned by Jon Durand of Reading, in a Robot Conflict yesterday. “We weren’t doing too good because we got knocked over.” Lewis said, “but
we won because he broke down.”
“It’s different, cool,” said Tammy Carsten of Bayville, N.J. “It didn’t last very long, though – the one just tore the other one apart.” Event coordinator John Pagano of Mount Laurel, N.J., described the robots as “remote-control fighting machines.” He said they compete in “weight classes, like boxing. The smallest is 150 grams, like 5 1⁄2 ounces; the largest is 120 pounds. There are seven classes in this event, in which roughly 150 robots are competing.
Matches are three minutes long. “It’s one-on-one combat,” Pagano said. “It has to be mechanical onlv – no flamethrowing, no electronics. They can flip ’em, smash ’em, cut ’em, chop ’em.’ If both bots are still running at finish, judges determine the winner.
Carl Lewis, 43, of San Diego, won the first bout although his robot took a beating, spinning like a top after being flipped twice.
“We weren’t doing too good because we got knocked over” Lewis said, “but we won because he broke down.” Richard Stuplich, 39, of Wausau, Wis., won the next match by decision to extend his winning streak to about 25. He said experience and patience are the keys to piloting robots. “Some operators concentrate on building them, he said, “but without a good driver, you’re not gonna win many fights.”
Going for a quick knockout is usually a futile approach, he added. You gotta show the judges you did what you wanted to do and the other guy didn’t.
Pagano said robot fighting “has been around for 10 years – there used to be a TV show they did this on.” He said the Northeast Robotics Club was formed about 4 1⁄2 years ago, when the largest robots in its events weighed just 12 pounds.
“We started with [fights in] an eight-by-eight-foot box, Pagano said. “Now [the cage is] 24 feet square and 12 feet tall. with a one-quarter-inch thick steel floor.”
Until yesterday, Dan Bowersox of St. Thomas had seen fighting robots only on television. “It’s pretty wild,” he said, “different.” “It’s been good so far,”
Wesley Hostetter of Juniata said. “I always did like remote-control vehicles.”