Makers Bent on Destruction

Tech enthusiasts, makers, robots, and clashing metal! Thanks to software and tools from Autodesk and Mathworks, spectators from Cambridge, MA got to experience a battle to the death between autonomous robots.

My how times have changed. Back in high school I participated in a mousetrap car battle.

The rules of the competition were simple.  The only form locomotion was from the stored energy in a mousetrap.  Using string and rubber bands, that motion was transferred to the wheels as you raced your opponent up the opposing side of an incline.  The winner was the vehicle that made it furthest down the opposing team’s side of the incline while remaining on four wheels.  Weak servos were used to trip the traps (each team was allotted three traps to utilize however they wanted in their design) but no motors or other forms of energy were allowed to function any aspect of the vehicle.

Teams could build fast racers with the hopes of beating the opponent over the incline but without flying off the track.  Or, teams could spring the mousetraps on offensive abilities and fling opposing vehicles out of the way.  Compared to the exciting competitions being held today, this little design exercise in cost-benefit choices and energy conservation seems almost petty.

For example, held recently in Cambridge, MA was a battle to the death between autonomous robots.  Using tools and software from Autodesk Fusion 360 and Mathworks, teams from the surrounding area converged on the local maker shop Artisan’s Asylum.  Fourteen days later, the bots were finished and ready to battle to the death.  Check out images from the event here.