It’s a “bloodbath” at Robo Riots

Sathishaa Mohan

Last weekend the audience roared in excitement as 24 robots slugged it out at Robo Riots at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght.

The four-show event took place over two days showcasing 31 battles involving 38 robots. The goal is to destroy or disable the opposing teams’ machines in the octagonal combat cage arena.

“Robo Riots” is a live re-enactment of the BBC’s hit TV show, “Robot Wars”. The event was organised by the creators of the battle bot Diotoir, who hail from Dublin.

The event was advertised as the first full-length heavyweight combat robot tournament of its scale in Ireland.

According to event director and producer, Peter Redmond, “Ireland has never had a robot tournament this big before.”

The android aficionado said, “We are happy to have a 100 square meters arena even though we only had two sponsors, one of which was mine.”

He added that the cash prize and trophy are of small value and the event was only meant for the spirit of robot combat sports.

The entire event was organised to encourage the many robotics enthusiasts of all ages from Ireland and the UK to build their own robots.

One out of the seven battles in each show involved seven to 10 smaller “featherweight” machines. This highlighted the message of promoting involvement.

The host, Ciarán Byrne (stage name Dr. Zulu), educated the audience on robotics being an accessible and affordable hobby by citing several YouTube channels providing tutorials on building robots.

Byrne was also the man who designed the Robo Riots trophy, a scrap metal figurine of a cyborg knight holding a dual-sided axe.

Redmond and Byrne were two of the five members from team Nemesis, who created Diotoir, which battled in “Robot Wars” and now “Robo Riots”.

The thrill of robo-carnage bridged the gap between multiple generations. Parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren bonded over the family-friendly mayhem.

At least this was the case for most families, not for the father who spent five minutes trying to capture the perfect robot selfie backstage as his son blankly stared at the ground a few feet away.

A running storyline throughout the show was the feud between Dr. Zulu and the dim-witted bot named “AL-1X”. The audience took a liking to “AL-1X” and disapproved of Dr. Zulu’s dismissal of its antics.

Before the action began, Dr. Zulu reminded the crowd of the safety procedures in case of an emergency and ensured the safety considerations were seriously examined by the organisers. He continued to say: “if a robot falls out of the arena, you can keep it.”

Dr. Zulu also improvised a washing machine routine before the final battle only to realise the “washing machines” were actually dishwashers. He called out “whoever failed at their job” of getting the correct appliances before introducing the finale.

The satisfied organisers are looking forward to new robotics fanatics in a smaller-scale event at the annual BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition next January.

Sathishaa Mohan

Image Credit: Sathishaa Mohan