EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE: Julie Pitts (right) works to get her robot Ringo battle ready for the Australian Robowars Nationals this weekend at the Ipswich Art Gallery.
EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE: Julie Pitts (right) works to get her robot Ringo battle ready for the Australian Robowars Nationals this weekend at the Ipswich Art Gallery. Sarah Harvey

Steel fighters to clash in bid for championship

EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE: Julie Pitts works to get her robot Ringo battle ready for the Australian Robowars Nationals this weekend at the Ipswich Art Gallery.
EXTERMINATE, EXTERMINATE: Julie Pitts works to get her robot Ringo battle ready for the Australian Robowars Nationals this weekend at the Ipswich Art Gallery. Sarah Harvey

IT'S ROBOTS, but not as we know them.

The Australian Robowars Nationals are on this weekend at Ipswich Art Gallery with head-to-head battles for the title of robot fighting champion. Organiser, Queensland Robotic Sports Club secretary Steve Martin, said it was the ultimate for combat robots.

"This is our biggest event of the year. We've got people coming from all over Australia to compete," Mr Martin said.

"It's run by the Robotics Sports Club a group of people interested in robots and combat robots in particular."

He started building combat robots in grade eight or nine, 12 years ago, excited by the TV show Robot Wars.

"I've just kept doing it; I did robotics at university - megatronics degree - and now I'm doing my PhD in robotics," he said. "This is much more fun - but don't tell my professor that."

The obvious fun side is smashing or flipping an opponent's robot but there is a deeper appeal.

"It's not so much a robotics challenge because they're all remote control - people get a bit annoyed when we call it robotics - but it is a mechanical engineering challenge," he said.

"People like building things and the reason they do this is because it gives them the ultimate test of their skills for building stuff."

Dealing with your robot getting smashed is part of the game but it's also the root of the thrill.

"If you didn't do that it wouldn't be exciting; there's no risk, you don't get an adrenalin buzz when you throw them in there if they're just going to push each other around," he said.

There are two types of robots in action on Saturday and Sunday, the 150g Antweight division and the 13.6kg Featherweights.

The Australian Robowars Nationals will run from 10.30am-4.30pm with an hour break from 12.30pm. Entry is free.


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