The global COVID-19 pandemic has delayed many events: weddings, tax collections, sporting seasons and BattleBots. BattleBots? BattleBots! Yes, BattleBots!
In most cases, COVID-19 related delays are a negative. However, for Samtec-sponsored Phalanax Robotics, delays in the BattleBots competition have been a blessing in disguise. They have been able to build a better bot.
I recently caught up with Andrew Godfrey from Phalanx. He kindly gave details of how Phalanx came together, the type of bot they are making and the strategy used in competition. Part 2 of this interview will be published in a few weeks.
Phalanx Robotics Interview
Matt Burns: How long have you two (Chris Sparzo and Andrew Godfrey) been working together?
Andrew Godfrey: We have worked together since our junior year of ME at IUPUI. We had many common classes, and we both joined IUPUI’s Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) team with the goal of building an ultra-high fuel efficiency prototype vehicle. With SEM, we took a project from conception to completion. Our SEM experience was an essential part to our BattleBots application; proving to the selection committee we have the skills to take on such an ambitious project.
MB: What made you decide to get involved with BattleBots?
AG: I’ve been infatuated with Battlebots since the first time I saw them on TV as a kid. I’ve always wanted to enter the competition, but only now I feel we have the engineering know how and fabrication skills to make it happen. I held a viewing party for the 2016 BattleBots championship where a few of us placed bets on the winner. My money was on Minotaur who sadly lost in the semifinals. Hopefully, our team is better at fights than I am at predicting the outcome!
MB: What kind of bot are you building for the 2020 competition?
AG: Aegis is a flipper powered by twin 4” bore pneumatic cylinders. Flipper bots win fights by either throwing the competition out of the arena or by inflicting damage beyond repair. When we first decided to enter BattleBots, there were a few reasons to design a flipper. First, there simply aren’t a whole lot of flippers. We aren’t sure why, but we are thrilled to fill the void. Second, we really felt like flippers have the most room for design innovation.
Historically, fewer people have tried building a flipper, so there are more unknowns compared to other weapon types. Our core design philosophy for Aegis was to maximize flipper surface area and keep our center of gravity as low as possible. Flippers only work when you get underneath your competition. I think we’ve done a really good job at giving us the highest chance possible of maintaining the low ground and getting the other bot on top of our weapon.
For More Information
Andrew’s partner in crime Chris Sparzo has also been busy. He was recently inteviewed on The Adrian Sinclair Show via podcast. Check our additional details about Team Phalanx below.
Stay tuned to the Samtec blog for further updates on Aegis and BattleBots! Also, check out our latest Micro Rugged Solutions Guide. These interconnect solutions are ideally for bots and similar applications.