WELCOME BY MARK FRAUENFELDER

Surprising Robots

Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy the spectacle of a noisy, violent robot war as much as the next person. I love it when sparks fly and screaming circular blades tear into the metal hide of smoke-belching battle bots. It’s thrilling to watch one bot ram another and send it flying into the bulletproof plexiglass separating the spectators from the combat arena.

But as much as I like battle bots, and as much as I admire the clever and resourceful enthusiasts who make them, I don’t consider these machines to be true robots. Like many crawling and rolling mechanical critters given the label “robot,” battle bots are really just remote control vehicles, albeit armored and weaponized ones.

To me, a real robot ...

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