Going Over The Trenches: Aussie Robots Go Head To Head In Urban Combat

The sound of steel on steel floats over the top of the shocked crowd's gasps. It's the sound of someone's beloved machine being torn apart, and this cage match won't be over until one of the contenders can't get back up. Your grip on the remote control that operates your robot wavers momentarily. You look down at your robot. It has no idea what it's up against. Is this robot hell? Not even close. It's called RoboWars, and you're about to go over the trenches.

The concept of throwing two robots into a ring and watching them fight to the death isn't something merely relegated to the confines of a bad Hugh Jackman movie or a late night, B-grade TV show hosted by that guy from Red Dwarf anymore. It's real, has been for years, but now it's coming to Sydney for the annual Time Machine Festival run at Serial Space in Sydney.

For $20 you can register your robot to battle it out in a cage match to the fiery death, or if you prefer just to watch robots tear each other's guts out, it'll cost you $15. Cheaper than a movie certainly and more fun than being punched in the face by the latest Hollywood atrocities, that's for sure.

Here's how it works:

You and a squad of mates build an armoured robot that is designed to kick metal arse. The only rules are that it can't be equipped with projectiles, liquid weaponry, or electronic weapons like power tools. You enter your respective class and have three minutes put on the clock to survive the round. The only question is which will run out first: time, your opponent's power or your beloved robot warrior?

Winners are judged by a panel of experts who will look at everything from build quality, aggressiveness, fighting style and damage dealt.

Robowars has been going on for years, attracting small crowds to sheds all over the country to watch the grinding, spinning, crunching display. The funding for the Sydney event has been crowdsourced through Pozible, and 14 loyal supporters were able to get the project over the $300 funding goal.

The idea of Robowars is to get people out from in front of the TV or the PlayStation and get them back into a shed. Australia has an affinity for sheds and what goes on in them has put the country on the map in terms of backyard inventions. I know I'd rather be on the battlefield than playing Battlefield.

The upcoming event in Sydney sees the lethal battle bot, Killer, return to defend its title against a series of opponents. It plans to slice and dice the opposition with a bulletproof steel blade and lightning quick moves. Can it succeed for a second year in a row? You'll have to go along to find out.

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