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Spherical Battlebot

It's name is "Wrecking Ball"
  [vote for,

At the center of this spherical 'bot are two small gyroscopes surrounded by gimbals. They can each be powered by small batteries located/balanced on the innermost gimbal-frame. The axis of one gyroscope will be vertical, and the axis of the other will be horizontal. The horizontal axis will point toward the person remotely controlling the 'bot. Gyroscopic action should keep the two axes pointing in the specified directions for the duration of a fight (only 3 minutes max). More on this in a bit.

Surrounding the gimbals are the electronics for the 'bot, and surrounding that is some sort of padding, maybe more than one type, to shield the delicate stuff from mechanical shock. There will be a significant number of wires passing through the padding, between the electronics and the rest of the bot's hardware.

Surrounding that is the main frame of the 'bot's body, to which all the rest of the stuff, like battery packs, is firmly mounted. We want this framework to be made of solid tungsten metal. Tungsten is one of the toughest metals, and it has about the same density as gold and uranium.

You might recall that they use "depleted uranium" in certain munitions; its density gives it tremendous penetrating power. In this case a maximally-massive Battlebot will be on the small side --but when it impacts another 'bot, quite a punch will be delivered!

An "icosahedron" is a regular 20-sided solid (see link). The tungsten shell covering our spherical tungsten framework will have 20 holes regularly-spaced all over its surface. The diameters of these holes will depend on a number of factors, likely including some experimentation. For the purpose of this discussion, let's assume 3 centimeters diameter.

(Note that a "buckyball" has 32 facets, not quite as regularly- spaced as an icosahedron, but pretty-close to equidistant. As you read the following, you might think that we really need more than 20 holes; this paragraph exists to assure you that the possibility remains open, even while only 20 holes are discussed.)

There will be "nested solenoid shafts" in each hole. The "coils" parts of the pair of solenoids will be located inside the shell of the 'bot, and can be wider than 3 cm. Let's assume the inner solenoid shaft is 1 cm in diameter; the 3-cm-wide outer solenoid shaft is therefore a tube with a 1-cm-thick wall, and a 1-cm diameter hole in its middle.

Looking at the tungsten surface of the spherical 'bot, we see 20 ring-shaped patches of automobile tire tread, with a hole in each of their centers. These are flush with the surface. We will also see a bunch of embedded antennas, to make sure the bot can receive remote-control signals no matter what the orientation of the shell becomes during combat, relative to its initial orientation. Let us now imagine manually pushing the spherical 'bot in various directions.

The vertical-axis gyroscope always points up/down, regardless of the orientation of the outer shell. The electronics package will include a way to observe that gyroscope, and always be able to determine which way is "down" --and thus know which solenoids are located in the down-side region of the 'bot.

The horizontal-axis gyroscope always points toward the side of the BattleBox arena where the 'bot's remote controller is located. By observing that horizontal line, the 'bot's electronics can always determine which directions are left, right, forward, and reverse.

A remote-control signal telling the 'bot to move will cause it to trigger one or more of the solenoids near the ground, off-center from where the sphere actually contacts the ground. So a rubber tire-tread, maybe two, is extended from the 'bot, contacts the ground, and literally pushes the 'bot, making the sphere begin to roll. It's rolling speed can be increased by consecutive solenoid-triggerings as it rolls.

We want the onboard electronics to be smart enough to always figure out the correct solenoids to trigger, and when to trigger them, as it rolls at whatever speed. The main thing the remote- controller does, is simply tell the bot to go left or right or forward or backward, or some combination thereof. The electronics figures out how to obey, and then does it.

One of the Rules for this sport describes a category of 'bot that doesn't have wheels. It is presumed to have legs, and is called a "Stomp 'Bot". It is also allowed to be significantly more massive than the wheeled 'bots, heh, heh, heh... Since THIS 'bot doesn't have wheels, and sort-of has legs (extendable), it may qualify!

Now we are ready to talk about combat. FIRST, we want those solenoids to be quite powerful; if necessary we might consider replacing them with pneumatics, and have some onboard pressurized-air cylinders to power them. When ordered to do this next thing by the remote controller, the onboard electronics figures the optimum moment, and then fires up to 3 solenoids simultaneously. The whole 'bot jumps into the air!

Imagine another 'bot racing toward a collision with the sphere. The sphere jumps up, and when it comes down it lands on top of the other 'bot! --STOMP!-- with the full density-concentrated weight/mass of Wrecking Ball!

And there's MORE. We want a layer of piezoelectic sensors in- between the rubber tire-tread and the shaft of each outer solenoid. Normally the outputs of those sensors are ignored as the 'bot pushes/rolls along the ground. When told to jump, though, the electronics will now pay attention....

When the 'bot lands on top of another 'bot (STOMP!), the sensors trigger the INNER solenoid. It shoots a sharp tungsten spike into the guts of the other 'bot. We want as much length as possible of this spike to be tapered, so that it can be retracted as easily as it penetrates.

Is the battle over? Well, if not, Wrecking Ball can always roll toward the other 'bot and jump on top of it again! STOMP!

Vernon, Aug 13 2015

Icosahedron https://en.wikipedi...Regular_icosahedron
As mentioned in the main text. [Vernon, Aug 13 2015]

Buckyball https://en.wikipedi...uckminsterfullerene
FYI [Vernon, Aug 13 2015]

Battleship film attack gyros https://www.youtube...watch?v=YWsLI0WfzMc
[not_morrison_rm, Aug 13 2015]

Gimbal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimbal
For anyone who doesn't know about them. [Vernon, Aug 13 2015]

Zeroids http://www.jedispar...uk/4/Terrahawks.htm
Gerry Anderson and crew got there first [wjt, Aug 14 2015]

Orb Swarm http://wiki.orbswar...?title=In_The_Media
Built these a couple years ago. Considered competing in robogames but they were not designed for combat. [rmutt, Aug 29 2015]

60 holes should be possible http://m101.nthu.edu.tw/~s101021218/
Search this page for the word "duality". A cube has 8 corners and 6 faces; an octahedron has 8 faces and 6 corners --they form a duality. Similarly a dodecahedron (12 faces) has a duality with an icosahedron (20 faces). A buckyball has 60 corners and 32 faces, but I haven't been able to find a picture of its duality, which would have 60 faces and 32 corners. [Vernon, Aug 29 2015]


       // two small gyroscopes surrounded by gimbals   

       I did have an idea using similar equipment only this week, but it came as two implants and a boon to exotic dancers of whatever persuasion.   

       Moving on from that, this kind of wotsit did turn up in the slightly naff Battleship film. Linky, if I can find it.
not_morrison_rm, Aug 13 2015

       I came up with a similar idea some years back (great minds think alike...).
The only thing to add is the name I had for it:

neutrinos_shadow, Aug 13 2015

       Surrounded by gimlets ? Gin, lime, syrup? Oh, never mind...
normzone, Aug 13 2015

       I've been toying with a variation this idea for quite a while.   

       Make dang-sure that this weapon is not hack-able is all I can say.   

       With enough money thrown at a film, it's baseline is going to be 'good'. Once a film is funded heavily, the standards should be raised. Exceptional should be the minimum baseline.
wjt, Aug 15 2015

       Would like it if the gimbals were replaced by gerbils.
xenzag, Aug 15 2015

       I like this BuckyBot, nice design! Please don't use the miley cyrus song wrecking ball for your fight intro song if you ever make this.
Duck Lagrange, Aug 15 2015

       This reminds me of a 'bot I thought up years ago, based on the following observations:   

       1. Bots that get flipped over are usually killed. 2. Bot weapons rarely get enough of the bot's weight behind them   

       So, I thought of fat, grippy caterpillar tracks, so the bot could function equally well either way up and a centrally mounted, double-ended spike perpendicular to the main plane of the bot, the plan being to crawl up on top of the other bot and stab it - or, failing that, crawl underneath it and stab it upwards.   

       This idea addresses both design priorities better than mine did. [+]
pertinax, Aug 20 2015

       [bigsleep], I knew that there were some rather fancy solid-state/no-moving-parts "gyroscopic" systems out there, but didn't know a version was chip-size and reasonably available. Thanks for that; I would certainly prefer something smaller and more-able to withstand shocks than actual gimballed gyroscopes.   

       Regarding complexity-of-control, the situation is not as bad as you think. I specified that the on-board electronics would do much of the work of figuring out which solenoids to trigger, to make the sphere move and jump. The actual remote-control device would be quite normal, specifying "go left" or "go forward" or whatever combination of directions a joystick can specify, and the "fire weapon" button would tell the 'bot to jump.   

       What I didn't say in the main text is that the onboard electronics would include a neural net that would be trained, in interpreting the remotely-specified commands to deliver the desired results. This is not magic; we do have the tech to enable that goal. So, the 'bot would simply not be entered into combat until that remote-control training was completed.   

       Finally, regarding complexity-of-construction, well, there is the center region where the electronics is protected, an outer region where lots of "legs", identical solenoid systems (or pneumatic plungers) are located, an overall framework, and a middle region where the power supply (of whatever type(s) needed) is located. Training should include deliberately disabled legs, and the hardware should have a way of detecting a leg that isn't working properly, so the electronics can figure out how to compensate (and automatically employ compensation whenever needed in combat). Having more legs (such as 32 instead of 20, and see that "60 holes" link) in this situation is actually a plus, not a minus. Naturally, each leg-system would be an easily-replaced module....
Vernon, Aug 29 2015

       Another option to reduce the complexity might be to have a single solenoid/pneumatic plunger attached to the internal gimbal component and always point down. Synchronize the firing on the plunger to a passing open hole at base. Visualize a wrecking ball on a pogo stick/spike.
dataloss, Aug 29 2015


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