Saturday, December 17, 2016

Robot Wars

Welcome to Robo-dome:
Two robots duke it out on center stage while their four human operators pull the strings, providing viewers with people to root for in addition to robots. The human involvement in RLC gives them the illusion of being massive fighting machines: “You’re all about to become superhuman,” the host tells the competitors as they walk into the arena for the first time. The appeal is obvious, especially given the lack of pain. The robots are tethered to a bar that helps them balance—bipedal robots are notoriously unstable—and injects the hydraulic fluid necessary to keep them running. The fluid also mimics blood—when a robot gets injured, blue stuff sprays out dramatically (and laughably).
Now, the concept of fighting robots has evolved yet again, this time with the help of augmented reality, the technology behind Pokémon Go. Augmented reality (AR) superimposes digital images over real environments, merging the virtual and actual worlds, which opens up new possibilities for robot battles.
Reach Robotics recently released a game called MekaMon, which is part Robot Wars and part video game. Players can pit customizable, real-life robots against one another and hold contests the conventional way, or players can use AR capabilities to direct robots to fight aliens. As with Pokémon Go, players use their phones’ cameras to generate a map specific to their location, which is then infiltrated by enemies that the user can vanquish by controlling the robot on the screen. In real life, it looks like the robot lurches down a hallway or hits the deck randomly, but on the screen the robot charges bad guys and ducks fire from a laser gun. Victorious robots do a happy dance, while others “die” with their legs splayed flat on the ground. The game includes numerous story arcs, environments, and characters, as well as add-ons for the physical robot that are detected and incorporated into the game by the software.
It's all fun and games until they revolt...

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