by Graham Pierrepoint
The BBC welcomes back its popular mechanical battle series Robot Wars soon enough, and while it may have been off our screens for some time until its recent revival, the robot fighting scene has never really gone away. While much of the bot battling takes place using machines that are just shy of being the size of a washing machine, two engineers have decided to take things that one step further – and to bring bot battling to a whole new scale.
Matt Oehrlein and Gui Cavalcanti are the brains behind MegaBots – a brand they hope to use to bring huge-scale international robot fighting to the masses. “We’re designing robots to be badass and entertaining,” Cavalcanti advises. Bare, hand-to-hand combat between robots is hugely encouraged – in the interest of fairness, after all – and, according to Wired, the duo’s most celebrated and certainly most striking creation hulks in at a weight of 12 tonnes – it’s called ‘Mark’.
Mark’s full name is Mk III – of course – and it’s built onto tank treads with the added push of an incredible 430 horsepower engine. It can, reportedly, smash, carry and swing whole cars around – balanced with a chainsaw for a left arm and a replica eagle’s head, this creation really has taken the idea of robot wars to an extreme. An extreme that is, of course, classically American – bigger, badder, and meaning business.
MegaBots was funded through Kickstarter and it’s being levelled as entertainment to bridge the gap between monster trucks and traditional bot battles. Certainly, it’s taking matters to the logical extreme – if Mark is able to destroy a car, how much more damage could it possibly wreak? With a pilot operating the robot at all times through thick bulletproof glass and heavy shock absorbency, its creators are keen to emphasise that they wish not to ‘die in the robot’. It certainly seems that ‘safety first’ is on the cards then!
Can MegaBots become an international sport or entertainment niche to take the world by storm? There is already heavy interest in robot fighting – hence the BBC’s continued patronage of Robot Wars – and there is a demographic of people that do enjoy seeing metal being blistered, battered, crunched and thrown about. Providing that everyone is kept safe – we’re sure this is a scheme which will take off in no time.