Autonomous Robots Fight to the Death in Cambridge

Cambridge, MA 10.14.2008: The Middle East club on Mass Ave in Cambridge Section: SIDEKICK; Slug: ; Reporter: jeff miranda Globe Staff Photo, David Kamerman Library Tag 10232008 Sidekick Calendar Edition
The Middle East club on Mass Ave in Cambridge
The Boston Globe

Well, they sort of fought to the death, at least. The Middle East night club in Cambridge hosted the second Autonomous Fighting Robot Challenge on Sunday, in which eight robots built over the course of two weeks battled against each other without any human control. Instead, the robots relied on sensors and software developed by Mathworks and Autodesk, according to WBUR.

Basically they're little rudimentary Terminators. That said, the matches were often mild as some of the bots barely moved and others spent most of their time carefully avoiding each other. So when the robots actually clashed it sent a charge through the crowd. In the end, a robot with a rhino horn, googly eyes and a penchant for circling around the ring defeated all challengers. It was built by the Somervillians team: Jason Chrisos, James Cascarano, Cris Cervantes, Aron Levy and Sean Murray.

"The competition for me is a celebration of the great complexity of systems that people can build today with such ease and speed," [event organizer Paul] Kassebaum says. "The idea that these things can be built in two weeks would have been unheard of just a few years ago."

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