The story behind Team Run Amok's 'Robot That Never Was'.

The Robot That Never Was
Team Run Amok's Mock-Up for Our Robotica Application
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My resume that accompanied the application for entry into the Robotica competition back in late 2000 looked a little thin. I could show all sorts of interesting competition experience (rocketry, pinewood cars, gravity racers…) interesting construction projects (my Westfield Eleven), and electronics experience (assorted R/C contraptions) – but I didn’t have anything the correct scale to show that I could build an interesting combat robot. So, as the final touch for the application, I built the un-named robot that appears in the photo to the left. In five minutes.

I needed something that would take a good photo, would look like it would be interesting to watch in operation, and around which I might construct a story. I had a few multi-axis robot arms lying about, and I had an operational Tamiya ‘Monster Beetle’ 1/10th scale off-road R/C car hanging on my workshop wall. Off came the VW body from the R/C vehicle, and plop-on went the most colorful robotic arm I had.

The photo looked great. It was easy to imagine the vehicle doing very interesting things, and the story of the ‘bot “speeding across uneven terrain, stopping on a dime, and then picking the dime up” completed the package. My application was accepted.

The vehicle was, of course, non-operational. The chassis worked, but the robot arm was simply sitting on top – not even attached. I would have required a 7-channel radio set-up with five dual-end relay boards to fully implement the beast. It would have been cool!

The robotic arm went back on the shelf, but the Monster Beetle had another role to play in my robotics career. Following our victory at Robotica, I used the chassis to build ‘Mini Run Amok’ – a 1/4 scale operational model of my champion robot. Mini Run Amok made appearances where it was inconvenient to bring the full-scale version, or during the period when Run Amok was being transformed into her Robot Wars alter-ego, ‘Run Away’.

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