Battling robots want your help spreading metal mayhem

RoboGames, the "Olympics of robots," is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to help produce an independent, rock 'em sock 'em Web-based video series.

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Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Robots fight with fire in RoboGames. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

There's a certain excitement inherent in the metal-against-metal battles that pit robots against each other in an action-packed thunderdome.

For over a decade, the nonprofit group Robotics Society of America has been running the world's largest robot competition called RoboGames. Since 2004, robots from more than 30 countries have competed annually in San Mateo, Calif., in 54 different events such as kung-fu, stair climbing, basketball, bipedal soccer and combat.

In 2015, RoboGames plans to produce an independent, Web-based video series that focuses on weaponized robots waging battle in an arena where only one opponent survives.

To pull it off, RoboGames is asking robot fans to help crowd-fund the competition and video series.

"RoboGames is the Olympics of robots," David Calkins, co-founder of RoboGames, told Crave. "There are no other events in the world like it. Everyone is treated equally -- kids competing with Lego robots or adults with combat robots. Every event gets the same medals. Heavyweight combat robots are always the big draw, which is what the Web series will focus on. But there will be other segments on the humanoids, the kids who compete, etc."

The RoboGames Kickstarter campaign has already reached more than two-thirds of its $40,000 goal. It has until November 7 to reach the full amount. Like with all Kickstart campaigns, RoboGames gets nothing if it does not reach its goal.

"Producing a professionally produced show is only our first goal for this Kickstarter," the campaign page states. "If you help smash that goal, we'll add more to this project that will really bring you into the action, like including a behind-the-scenes professional documentary featuring as many of RoboGames' 54 events as possible: suspense-filled robot hockey, androids who play soccer, tiny nano-sumo robots the size of a quarter fighting in an arena the size of a salad plate! We'll take you with us for an up-close examination of these amazing robots, along with interviews by the intrepid inventors from around the world who built them."

Who needs David Beckham when we can bend it like bots? Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Kickstarter perks for those who donate include tickets to the live event, digital downloads or episodes, robot trading cards, T-shirts, DIY robot kits, classroom youth days, robot LED art, RoboGames pit tours, executive producer credits and driving a large robot in the competition itself.

"Our Kickstarter isn't just for DVDs. Backer levels include funding teams to come who couldn't otherwise afford it, getting ads into the show and buying tickets for local under-privileged kids to come see the show live," Calkins told Crave.

"RoboGames really needs Kickstarter supporters to let the whole world see what happens," he added. "There are 3,000 fans that get to see it live, but the poor folks in Florida and Australia just can't see shows like this -- it's not on TV and they don't have these live events. The Kickstarter brings the show back to the fans."