2009/12/29

Sting, the robot wasp.



This is a video of the development process for this little robotic wasp, called Sting. It's sort of a character in the novel I'm writing, along with its cousin Spike and half brother Mr Shrimpsley (Later renamed the VCR - Vacuum Combat Robot)
Here's an excerpt from my novel, feel free to ask any questions that may arise:

A loud cheer emanated from the crowd. Black and the General looked towards the mid-air robot wrestling match. One of the little bugs was limping round with one of its wings hanging by a thread. It was Cassandra's robot, Sting.
“They're vicious,” said Black.
“Fun isn't it,” said an officer floating by them. “I mean, sir.”
“At ease, lieutenant. We're here for the fight, just as you are.”
“Thank you, sir.”
River's robot, Spike, appeared to have the advantage, taking a moment to aim its lasers at its crippled foe. With the rules they were playing by, a sustained hit on one part of the robot's light sensitive skin for two seconds would kill that section. If it was the head, abdomen, or any of the limbs, it would become paralysed, deactivating that section. If the thorax was hit for two seconds, that was game over. Just before Spike fired, Sting jettisoned its damaged wing and pushed itself sideways with the remaining three, dodging all but the first fraction of a second. Spike almost looked disappointed, it dived on Sting, deciding it needed to do more melee damage before it could sit back and laser its way to victory.
“That's a new trick.” said River.
“Yeah, I've got to keep you guessing.”
“But he can't win with three wings. Spike's bound to out-manoeuvre him, and Spike almost always wins when he gets a good grip.”
“I wouldn't be so sure about that.”
Spike chased Sting on a wild course around the open space of the cargo bay. Most people couldn't keep up with their speed and looked at one of the holographic screens which kept them in the centre of the shot and replayed key scenes mid battle at either River or Cassandra's will. Spike managed to force Sting into a corner, still going at ten metres per second. There would be no where to turn around so the only option would be to stop. But Sting didn't stop. It ploughed into the corner at full speed, bouncing off, apparently unscathed. With its velocity maintained, though reversed, it took Sting completely off guard, forcing the point on the tail, for which he was named, straight through the other robot's abdomen. The pair stopped, linked in the air, their momentums having been equal and opposite. They both twisted in the air trying to slash the other's wings while keeping its own safe.
Suddenly the mad, high speed chase around the bay had turned into a battle of strength, as they wrestled while drifting across the cargo bay. Red lines of lasers passed through the air, as they tried in vain to hit the other with their ranged weapons. Spike's strength waned as the electrolyte bled from the batteries in his abdomen. Sting pulled out his stinger, allowing him to move freely across the other robot. With minimal resistance he plunged his sharp mandibles into the soft connective parts at the base of the wings and legs, completely immobilising his opponent. They drifted apart and Sting turned around, took aim, and fired all four lasers into Spike's chest for ten seconds.
A minority in the crowd cheered, but most people had favored Spike as the winner. The holographic barrier vanished, showing it was safe to move forwards and see the combatants up close. Nobody wanted to move first, all of them had learned a little fear for robots in the last few minutes. River and Cassandra pushed away from the far wall directly towards their own robots, with surprising accuracy for what looked like an ordinary launch.
Sting grabbed its jetsome and flew to its master, while Spike could only look forlornly at River, waiting to be repaired.
To the General's surprise Black was the first to step through the now imaginary barrier. His feelings for River must be stronger than his fear of robots.

2 comments:

Alternicity said...

I like it.
Take it that paint job is designed to install fear?

Kiml said...

Not particularly. It's designed to make the robot look impressive.
This robot, and another of a similar design were built to experiment with robot combat, as shown in the exert from my novel.
In this world, robots have been illegal for decades, so the main characters are essentially using robot wars to help guide and test their re-development of technology.