[photo by Jessica Lehrbaum]
[photo by Arizona
Inferno was created in 1997 for the 25lb weight class of Robot
Wars and Robotica (both of which were subsequently canceled).
In lieu of these events, he debuted at the first Society
of Robotic Combat (SORC) meeting. He was videotaped for
a French television program and a picture of Dr. Inferno beating
up a LEGO robot made it onto the LEGO
Mindstorms RoboTour '98 web page journal. He underwent
revisions and upgrades in 1998 and 1999 and was on display at
the front of the LEGO booth at the 1999 Electronic
Entertainment Expo (E3). Dr. Inferno made his combat debut
1999, where he won the sumo portion of the competition and earned
the 3rd place trophy in the 12.5kg (27.5lb) weight class, despite
weighing 10lb under the allowed limit. He was also awarded the
"most innovative" prize by the judges and appeared in the Arizona
The doctor teamed up with Phil Putman's Air
Burial robot at BattleBots
in the Summer of 1999. A brief video clip of him also appears
in a promotional video for the BattleBots 1999 event. ZDTV
broadcast BattleBots live on the internet--they also picked Dr.
Inferno as a serious
contender in his weight class. Obviously, that journalist
didn't know what he was talking about. At BattleBots, he got shredded
spectacularly, just as planned. Mission accomplished. Dr. Inferno
was on display to entertain the inhabitants of Burning
Man in September 1999. (see
a Dr. Inferno driveway scuffle)
Dr. Inferno started life as a Tomy Omnibot toy that
I found at a swap meet for $40. Even though this programmable
robot butler worked perfectly, I just wasn't fascinated with a
robot that would bring me my morning coffee, but I saw potential
in him as an adorable combat robot. The 3 major portions of this
Jekyl-to-Hyde transformation involved gutting his computer electronics,
replacing his cup-holder arms with cordless power drills (whose
chucks could hold a variety of weapons), and putting in a beefier
drivetrain (with motors supplied by Coolrobots).
The final touch was the addition of metal skirts around his base
that rode flush to the ground and let him scoop up other robots.
DETAILS : Dr.
Inferno was a very simple robot, built to please & to suffer
an impressive death at the hand of another robot. His drivetrain
was 2 automobile power window motors bolted to a carbon fiber
and driving a pair of custom-made plastic wheels with vacuum cleaner
belts epoxied on for traction. A Powersonic
12V 2Ah gel cell battery powered the drivetrain through a
RDFR22 speed controller. The white plastic robot body, gutted
of its electronics, was screwed to the base, and a pair of Craftsman
6V cordless power drills were hose-clamped to the body. The drills
were controlled by a pair of RAM
air switches, with LEDs in his eyes hooked up to light up when
the drills were spinning. 3 hinged aluminum flaps were bolted
around the sides & back to act as scoops.
Shop facilities made available by UCSB
Mechanical & Environmental Engineering. Some electronics
and tools donated by Mouser
Electronics. Drive motors donated by Coolrobots.