How Do You Design a 15-Foot Tall, War Machine Robot?

Big things are happening in the world of giant robots. Can they go from novelty to a real sport?

In the last week we’ve seen a major development in the world of Robotic Pit Fighting. Yes, you read that right. It looks like at least one major clash between titanic robots will be happening in the near future. And apparently that isn’t the only recent news in the world of dueling robots.

Autodesk recently announced the winners of its MegaBots Design contest.

But let’s back up a bit. I think this story could use a bit of context.

Back in 2014, three ambitious guys started down the path to building a fully functional 15-foot battle mech. Named MegaBot, the robot’s purpose wasn’t just to prove that massive fighting robots could be built, it was meant to be a marker planted firmly in the ground. MegaBot was built to await a challenger. MegaBot was built to show the world that robotic pit fighting battles could be a profitable sport.

Fast-forward a year and change and it looks like MegaBot’s engineers might have been onto something. Aside from the correct assumption that robot fighting is cool (and would likely be profitable if it was ever sanctioned as a sport), MegaBot’s designers have captured the attention of makers the world over.

In fact, even Autodesk (who are keen to support the maker-movement at almost every level) caught the bug and decided to open a contest to get people amped up about the idea of robotic warriors and A360 (its cloud collaboration software).

Earlier this year, designers spent an entire month iterating new designs that would be brought to life by MegaBot’s engineers at the San Francisco Maker Faire. Well, the results are in and here are your winners:

 WingLord, an armor plating system for MegaBot by Yavuz Selim

 Z363  Spectre, a Cladding System by Casper Hofstede

 A modified weapons system by Robert Masek

Will robot fighting ever become a profitable sport? Probably not in the near future. But there’s at least one massive humanoid robo-warrior battle that’s scheduled to take place. Maybe that will keep the dream of titanic-robotic violence alive for another generation of aspiring engineers.