Giant Battling Robots may no longer be Science Fiction, but a Big Game.

As kids I'm sure many of you out there watched animations of giant robots battling each other. Depending on your age, a brief moment of possibility it would become reality with the show Robot Wars. There homemade robots battled each other in an arena. Not much more than beefed up remote control cars though. Not quite the 2 legged mechanical giants of the video gamer's imagination.

Until now...

There is a kickstarter project that is bringing together the top in the field of Robotics and Engineering to make a Battle Bot. This Battle Bot will face off against Japan. And here we see Gamification for Science and Research in action.

Gamification you say? Yes. Here we see the same Goal design used in Games as is being used to further Robotic research. The 3 parts.

  1. Quantifiable outcome: Build a robot that can withstand a melee fight.
  2. Deadline: Before the upcoming match.
  3. Artificial Challenge: Beat the Japanese.

Now, I am not particularly keen on building giant war machines, which is basically what this is doing. However, the larger picture, one could argue, is the advance in robotics research that would come from this Game. Getting this dream team including NASA, Autocad and of course Grant Imahara from Myth Busters! One could imagine the Epic Bot they would build. But think of the advance in techology they could uncover for other fields. Replace limbs, help spinal injury patients, or develop search and rescue gear. The list goes on and on.

The entertainment value of watching these 2 bots go to battle, for sure I will be watching. Perhaps, it will inspire a young generation into engineering. Hopefully, with less violent intent, or am I being too naive?