Watch the first episode of Robot Combat League in all its rock 'em, sock 'em glory

Illustration for article titled Watch the first episode of emRobot Combat League/em in all its rock em, sock em glory

SyFy just put the first full episode of its Real Steel-esque, robot-fighting/reality/game show online for your viewing pleasure before it premieres on February 26th, and I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised. The robot fighting rigs are much more elaborate than I had supposed, the contestants are interesting, and the fights are genuinely cool. One thing, though, SyFy — I know you think $100,000 is a big deal, but you really negate the power of the prize announcement when you make it immediately after mentioning George Lucas' MMA-fighting daughter Amanda is one of the contestants. $100,000 is what she probably tips at Starbucks.

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[Via Nerd Bastards]

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DISCUSSION

Corpore Metal

I'm both impressed and a little disappointed.

My disappointment is that the animatronics are being held upright with big steel poles, probably containing wiring trunks and hydraulic fluid. It would by better if they rolled out on wheels. Clearly some robotics and artificial intelligence breakthroughs are needed to make autonomous bipedal stability possible. If the robots were smart enough to stand, dodge and shift weight on their own legs, despite being bludgeoned—that would be truly impressive and very frightening actually. The military would wanna know about that.

The other thing is you'd figured they'd design these robots after suits of ancient armor. Most armor tends to be full of rounded surfaces and few gaps. This helps to deflect weapons. You'd figure these designers would follow that clue.

I also wonder if these robot fighting competition will fall prey to the same problem that Battlebots did: once a nearly unbeatable design is found, they change the rules to outlaw it. Then a new unbeatable design emerges from the new rules set, rinse, lather, repeat.

As far as the haptics rigs are concerned, I wonder if they provide force feedback to the user. That seems it would key to prevent the user from overextending a robot arm. Or is the software in the robot smart enough to ignore motion commands outside safe operating limits.

Lot of questions. I'll have to watch this on DVR just to see the answers and buzz past all the reality TV bathos and melodrama.