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Replicating two of history’s most iconic BattleBots with the Arduino UNO R4

Arduino TeamNovember 8th, 2023

When the BattleBots TV show first hit the airwaves in 2000, it felt like we were finally living in the future. Engineers and enterprising hobbyists from around the world would compete to build the most destructive robots, which then entered into televised mortal combat within an arena. The original series had many notable robots, but two of those most iconic were DeathRoll and Hydra. Max Imagination replicated those on a small scale for mini living room battles.

BattleBots competitors could win their matches by either damaging their opponents to the point where they could no longer operate, or by making them unable to move. The most popular way to achieve that second goal was by flipping over the opposing robot and that is the tactic used by both DeathRoll and Hydra. DeathRoll did so with a spinning disc that catches on its opponents body, while Hydra used a hydraulic arm like a pancake spatula to flip opponents.

Max Imagination wanted to create faithful reproductions of both bots, but at a size small enough to be 3D-printed. Because hydraulics are difficult at this scale, Hydra’s flipping arm is spring-actuated and cocked with a motor-driven gear mechanism. Otherwise, both replicas work in the same way as their bigger ancestors.

Each robot takes advantage of the new Arduino UNO R4 WiFi board for control. Max Imagination programmed those with self-hosted web interfaces, so users can pilot the bots through smartphones. The bodies were designed in Autodesk Fusion 360 to be entirely 3D-printable and Max Imagination is even selling those models for anyone who wants to construct their own fighting robots.

Boards:Uno R4