Autonomous Fighting Robot


In 2014 myself and a bunch of friends from Cambridge Hackspace entered an Autonomous Fighting Robot Hackathon. The event was hosted by Artisan's Asylum in Somerville as part of the Cambridge Science Festival. We were given 2 weeks to design and build our robots, 5 hours on week days, and 10 hours on weekends. The event culminated in a tournament at the end of the science festival where we got 3rd place, and the Sparkfun award for most Innovative design.

For navigation we used a combination of IR sensors and color sensors. The color sensors were aimed at the floor, and were used to detect the edge of the arena. The IR sensors were used to detect the enemy robot.

We won the sparkfun award with our weapon. Whilst we were fairly confident in our ability to navigate, no system is perfect. So we wanted a weapon that gave us a maximum potential for both intentional, and accidental, hits. The solution I came up with was a very wide flywheel. A brushless electric motor drove the flywheel to approximately 4000RPM, the flywheel itself was mounted to its axle with a friction bearing. The friction bearing meant that when the flywheel made contact with the enemy robot it would simply unload it's kinetic energy, the flywheel would then slip on the axle preventing any shocks from propagating up the drive train.

The competition had a weight limit. Ideally we would have gone with steel sheets for armor, but this sent us well beyond the weight limit. To overcome this I designed a metal frame, which was plasma cut, to which we attached polycarbonate panels.