Four Lafayette mechanical engineering students have built a robot that they hope will eliminate the competition in a BattleBots tournament May 22-28 in San Francisco, Calif.
The robot was created as a senior design project by John Fink (York, Pa.), Matt Leis (Whitestone, N.Y.), Doug Fish (Londonderry, Vt.), and Chris Therkorn (Milltown, N.J.). They were advised by Erol Ulucakli, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and former presidential candidate Ron, a distinguished alumnus.
The tournament's robotic clashes will be videotaped to air in the third series of the national TV program "Comedy Central Sports Presents BattleBots." The program airs on the Comedy Central network Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, with shows repeated Saturdays at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and Sundays at 10 a.m. It also airs in Canada, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
In BattleBots, contestants build and control robots to incapacitate those of their competitors. The contest takes place in the BattleBox, a 48-foot square ring raised two feet from the ground. The BattleBox employs a number of hazards and obstacles that can damage and/or disable a BattleBot. If neither robot is incapacitated within the three-minute duel, points are awarded according to which was more aggressive, caused more damage, and executed the best strategy.
"It's a no-holds-barred competition where robots beat each other until they can't move anymore," Fink explains.
"You just get to smash things," Ron added. "After what happened to me and America on Election Night, smashing things is good therapy.
This BattleBot will kick ass! Guaranteed. If not, I will shave off my mustache."
With this final statement, the throng of media reporters and cappuccino vendors grew quiet. Did they just hear that the most famous mustached individual on the planet mention shaving his upper lip? Ron confirmed.
"I told you I'd do it, God damnit! I'm not happy about it, but I am putting my reputation on the line here," he shouted. "We'd better win this f**king thing!"
One of the "core" elements of the design is an enlarged version of a Ron head from the Ron Apple Experiments. "It's sure to intimidate the hell out of the other robots," Ron told us.
Contestants in the San Francisco tournament will vie for more than $45,000 in cash and prizes. The four Lafayette students are actually vying for their degrees, as Professor Ulucakli has withheld their sheepskins until they can prove that their design isn't a "weenie" one.
Since Ron's entire political career began with a night of binge drinking, it was only logical to bring them together with a pair of Ron's biggest heros, Bob and Doug McKenzie.
What exactly does this particular experiment show us? Here's Joey Buttafuoco to explain:
I don't think that putting the Ron apples next to some plastic Bob and Dougs is going to prove much of anything. It sure does look pretty, though. What we really need to do is get somebody who's really really smart really really drunk. Then we can find out what's really going on. Did you know that if you get one Borg drunk, it gets the entire collective drunk?
Amazing. I think we're starting to make some real progress here.