was designed and constructed in Summer 1999 for a potential LEGO
demonstration comic relief sideshow at BattleBots
Long Beach in August 1999.
built Tesseract after comparing and evaluating all of the entries
(including mine, 2A)
Mindstorms RoboGladiators promotion, organized by Switzer
Communications, for the Electronic
Entertainment Expo (E3) in 1999. After watching the other
robots, I decided that my next one needed to have some serious
kinetic energy and carnage potential. I just hate it when robot
fights degrade into shoving matches, so I vowed that Tesseract
would either tear parts off of its opponents or get shattered
trying to do so. Either way, it guarantees a fun match for everybody.
went through a few iterations of the design, trying different
motor combinations, different programming schemes, and different
reinforcement techniques. A scuffle with Peter Abrahamson's Mifune,
the reigning LEGO Mindstorms RoboGladiators champ, helped me find
Tesseract's weaknesses, which were later addressed.
9 in Hollywood ran a story on combat robots and their
builders. I demoed Tesseract in a pre-recorded segment.
was entered in BotBash
2000's open demo category, where it pulled in 3rd place.
LEGO chose to do a non-violent (well, less violent) Mindstorms
exhibit at their booth at the 2001 E3, I didn't get to drive Tesseract
on the small course, so I constructed Itchy
& Scratchy to compete & set up Tesseract for a
static display. I used the same Tesseract joystick (with an additional
button) to control both of the new bots.
pounds of LEGO parts and batteries. Robot ran on 54 AA batteries,
transmitter needs only 12. 16 9V gearhead motors drove the 4 spinning
discs (4 motors per disc) at
18V. 8 9V motors ran the 2 drivetrain wheels (4 motors
per side). 3 9V motors turned polarity switches for speed control.
4 9V battery packs (6 AAs each) ran the weapons; 4 more ran the
drivetrain (2 per side). Fully wireless IR remote control: 2 RCXs
mounted to 4-way joystick (4 push switches) and thumb trigger
button (1 more push switch) decoded switch positions and send
IR codes to 1 RCX on robot which ran 2 drivetrain speed controllers
and 1 weapon speed controller accordingly.
DETAILS : I
originally had the weapons set to turn on and just stay on. This
proved problematic, since battery packs wired to run at 18V that
are running heavily-loaded or stalled motors draw too much current
and trip their circuit breakers. The battery packs won't reset
until the electrical load is removed and the packs cool. So, I
added a remote control on/off switch for the spinners. I also
had trouble with the tires slipping off the rims and jamming into
the drivetrain gears, bringing Tesseract to a grinding halt. I
solved this by wrapping a 2nd tire tread around the 1st one, so
they both stuck on quite snugly. 4 caster wheels (1 beneath each
spinner) kept the robot level and reduced dragging friction.
mostly by Switzer
Communications and LEGO