abandon all hope ye robots who enter

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 Who is Dante?

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  • My mother (pregnant with me), father, and older brother were in Florence, Italy, visiting the house of the famous poet, Dante Alighieri. My brother, three years old at the time, hit upon the idea that it would be neat if his forthcoming baby brother were named Dante. My parents were obviously paying attention.


  • I played with Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, LEGO, Erector Sets. A whole lot.


  • 23ish years later, with two pieces of paper that said I had mechanical engineering degrees from Cornell University, I struck out into the "real world." I stumbled upon a Project Analyst position at PTCG, a Boston company that wrote big huge software that trucking companies used to schedule and route their trucks.
  • While in Boston, I read of a strange new event called "Robot Wars" in San Francisco, but that was way over on the other side of the country, and I didn't have a machine shop or much time on my hands...


  • Having had enough of the "real world" and "snow," I traversed the country to escape back to college for more degrees, this time at UCSB (the "SB" stands for "Santa Barbara").
  • Little did I know that tempting distractions would abound on this coast.


  • I figured it would be more and more difficult to spend serious time abroad as I aged, so I brushed up on my French and landed a job in Luxembourg. Living across the border in Belgium (Luxembourg's cost of living is just silly) and employed at Les Laboratoires Des Spécialités Du Dr. Ernst's Tisanes, I taught employees how to use these strange things called "computers" and set in motion the automated revamping of their manufacturing line of medicinal herbal teas. I swear I'm not making this up.
  • In the meantime, this Robot Wars thing turned out to be a success and I was disappointed that I was in Europe and missed it the 2nd time around.


  • My best buddy Christian helped land me a couple of movie special effects jobs over my school breaks. I designed a fiber optic lighting system for those mean and nasty Borgs in Star Trek:First Contact and I machined a mountain of internal parts for those mean and nasty mutated cockroaches in Mimic. Despite my handiwork, I don't recommend either movie...
  • Now this year, I was in this country, on the correct coast, proficient with metal machining, had a machine shop at my disposal, and had a small budget from UCSB to build Rampage for Robot Wars. Let's just say it was a learning experience.


  • For some reason, my 1997 Summer job related directly to my research--I was a lab technician in McDonnell Douglas' Long Beach composites prototyping area. Halfway through the Summer, Boeing bought them out, so I had to get a new ID badge to get past security. If only they'd let me retake my ID photo. I snagged so very many carbon fiber/kevlar panels and titanium pieces--they were rejected as not perfect enough for aerospace use, but they sure make for good robot parts.
  • I took a week off in the middle of the Summer to take Bot Will Eat Itself to Robot Wars. BWEI was a revamp of Rampage. It did better. A little better.


  • My advisor was actually able to support me during this Summer, so I continued the composites research.
  • I still found time to build two new robots, Dr. Inferno and the Missing Link, for Robot Wars.
  • Robot Wars got canceled.
  • I decided to take the robots to Robotica, an alternate-yet-similar event.
  • Robotica got canceled. Darn. I even made t-shirts and everything...


  • I'm still working on that PhD thing.
  • LEGO Mindstorms gave me and a few other lucky guys about $1100 in robotic LEGO bits to build a killer LEGObot. My creation, 2A, tied for 3rd place at the RoboGladiators competition. I am currently swimming in LEGO. I have had to buy new furniture to accommodate all my LEGO.
  • I took Dr. Inferno and the Missing Link to BotBash, where both of my bots won 3rd place. At BattleBots Long Beach, I didn't win any prizes, but my robots did well and caused much satisfying damage to other robots. I also brought Tesseract to demo at Long Beach.
  • I teamed up with my buddy Christian and we put together Slugger for BattleBots Las Vegas. Slugger did some slugging but came home trophiless.
  • I started the design of Towering Inferno but it took a while to gather funds before I could commence construction.


  • Slugger made his nationwide television debut on the first BattleBots Bot Bowl 1 Pay-Per-View on January 29, 30, & 31. I also helped out a little teeny bit with Christian Carlberg's super-heavyweight champ Minion.
  • I've started amassing parts for Towering Inferno and Dr. Inferno Jr., while I've schemed another heavyweight robot concept I like to call The Reamer.
  • I was asked by a UPN sitcom called Grown-Ups to pilot the Missing Link in two of their episodes due to air in early March 2000. The show filmed in January and March 2000. The 1st show aired on 3/20/2000 & the 2nd aired in 5/2000.
  • KCAL9 news in Hollywood filmed Christian and me with our robots for a segment on combat robots and their builders. We also had a live robot battle in the studio parking lot during the 10 o'clock news.
  • I brought Missing Link and Overpowered Box to BotBash 2000 in May. The link tied for 3rd place in points in the heavyweight division, while the box nabbed 2nd in the middleweights.
  • Missing Link & Dr. Inferno Jr. both fought at BattleBots 2000 in San Francisco in June. No trophies this time, but the Infernolab bots made it to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, the Sunday morning ABC news, and the Comedy Central TV show.
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. returned to Vegas for BattleBots again.


  • Not even 2 days into the new year, The Learning Channel invited me to contend in their Robotica event, which filmed in March. I entered with a newish bot, Mini Inferno, and had big big fun. The series aired in April.
  • Design News magazine put me & Towering Inferno on the cover of the April 23 issue.
  • Dr. Inferno Jr., Towering Inferno, & I co-hosted the Movies For Guys Who Like Movies airing of Judge Dredd on the TBS Superstation in April.
  • I created and competed with Itchy and Scratchy LEGO robots in the Mindstorms Mayhem at the LEGO booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in May.
  • I made an all-new 12lb bot, Hell on Wheels, and fought at BotBash. I came in like 6th place or something...
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. & Towering Inferno competed at BattleBots in San Francisco in May. Dr. Inferno Jr. won the season 3.0 lightweight division, becoming lightweight champ of the galaxy!
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. & Towering Inferno returned to BattleBots in November, both with serious upgrades. Dr. Inferno Jr. won the season 4.0 lightweight losers' and winners' rumbles, taking home his 2nd giant nut!
  • I went into the studio to film an interview for the Comedy Central's BattleBots for season 4.0.



  • I worked at ThinGap for 2 years, where I designed many a motor.
  • I worked at Alliance Spacesystems for 7 years, where I designed much of the Phoenix Mars lander arm, cameras (and cruise stage tooling & arm tests) for the Mars Science Laboratory rover.
  • I got married!
  • I became an internationally ranked pinball player.
  • I wrote the cover story for an issue of SERVO magazine, chronicling the efforts of the DARPA Urban Challenge vehicles as they ran the Long Beach Grand Prix race.
  • I started the Infernolab's YouTube channel.
  • I started working at WET as a Sr. Product Engineer, designing fancy robotic fountains.
  • I returned to MDA (formerly Alliance SpaceSystems) to be the lead mechanical designer for an on-orbit satellite-servicing 7-DOF robotic arm.
  • I worked at Jabil on industrial automation robotics.
  • I worked at Panasonic Avionics, designing antennas & in-flight entertainment electronics for passenger aircraft.
  • I work at Edwards Lifesciences, supporting design of artificial heart valves & other structural heart therapies.


  • Swing dancing
  • Playing classic video games & pinball machines
  • Racing go-karts
  • Working on my cars & my home
  • Tinkering with electronic & mechanical stuff (putting them back together is the hard part)
  • Attempting to keep in practice with my French (the language, that is...)
  • Playing with LEGO (the space sets are neat too, not just the Technic sets)
  • Trying to keep up with my young, energetic kids


My résumé.

My portfolio.

My list of publications.

Publications & presentations:

  • Bardis, Jason D., "From Modest Beginnings [evolution of BattleBots designs]", monthly SolidProfessor CAD learning session at Edwards Lifesciences September 15, 2021.
  • Bardis, Jason D., "Effects of Surface Preparation on the Long-Term Durability of Adhesively Bonded Composite Joints", Lunch & Learn Lecture presentation at Alliance Spacesystems July 14, 2006, at WET July 13, 2012, & at Panasonic Avionics Corporation January 30, 2018.
  • Bardis, Jason D., "The Evolution of Mars Robotic Arm Technology--Thoughts From Dr. Bardis", Robot Magazine, July/August 2013, pp. 40-41.
  • Bardis, Jason D., "How to Design with Composite Materials", Lunch & Learn Lecture presentation at Alliance Spacesystems, March 6, 2008 & at WET March 14, 2012.
  • Daniel Dibiase, Dr. Jason Bardis, and Rius Billing, "A Zoom Lens for the MSL Mast Cameras: Mechanical Design and Development", Proceedings of the 41st Aerosapce Mechanisms Symposium, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, May 16-18, 2012. article as submitted
  • Bardis, Jason D., "Look Ma, No Driver! A Look at the Long Beach Grand Prix", Servo Magazine, August 2008, cover story pp. 49-54. scan of article
  • Kedward K., and Bardis J., "Surface Preparation Evaluation for Bonded Composite Laminates", 17th Annual ASC Technical Conference, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, October 21, 2002.
  • Technical editor for Imahara, Grant, "Kickin' Bot: An Illustrated Guide to Building Combat Robots" book, Wiley, December 5, 2003. amazon
  • Bardis, Jason D., "What is a Composite Material? Should it be used to build a BattleBot?", BattleBots Magazine , issue 3, August, 2002, p. 18. scan of article
  • Bardis, Jason D., "Effects of Surface Preparation on the Long-Term Durability of Adhesively Bonded Composite Joints", Ph.D. dissertation defense slideshow, February 14, 2002. zipped ppt
  • Bardis, Jason D., and Kedward, Keith T., "Surface Preparation Effects on Mode I Testing of Adhesively Bonded Composite Joints", Journal of Composites Technology & Research, vol. 24, no. 1, January 2002, pp. 30-37. pdf
  • Bardis, Jason D., and Kedward, Keith T., "Effects of Surface Preparation on Long-Term Durability of Composite Adhesive Bonds", MIL-17 Handbook meeting, Santa Barbara, CA, October 15, 2001. pdf
  • Bardis, Jason D., and Kedward, Keith T., "Effects of Surface Preparation on Long-Term Durability of Composite Adhesive Bonds", SME Technical Paper #EM01-341 (Dearborn, MI: Society of Mfg. Engineers, 2001), and 13th International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM) Proceedings, Beijing, China, June 25-29, 2001. pdf
  • Bardis, J. D., and Kedward, K. T., "Effects of Surface Preparation on Long Term Durability of Composite Adhesive Bonds," FAA Technical Report DOT/FAR/AR-01/8, April 2001. pdf
  • Bardis, Jason Dante, "How to Avoid BattleBot Self-Destruction," BattleBots.Com Tips from the Pros, January 2001, link.
  • Bardis, Jason Dante, "Robot Wheel Comparison Guide Brief," BattleBots.Com Tips from the Pros, January 2001, link.
  • Tsotsis, T. K., Keller, S., Lee, K., Bardis, J., and Bish, J., "5000 Hours Aging of Polymeric Composite Specimens Under Elevated Pressure and Temperature," Composites Science & Technology, vol. 61, 2000, pp. 75-86. pdf
  • Bardis, J. D., and Kedward, K. T., "Effects of Surface Preparation on Long Term Durability of Composite Adhesive Bonds," 15th Annual ASC Technical Conference: Proceedings, College Station, TX, September 24-27, 2000. pdf
  • Bardis, J. D., Kedward, K. T., Bish, J. O., Tsotsis, T. K., "A New Compression Test Fixture for Unnotched or Notched Thin Composite Laminates," Journal of Composites Technology & Research, vol. 22, no. 3, July 2000, pp. 136-145. zipped doc
  • Bardis, J. D., Kedward, K. T., Bish, J. O., Tsotsis, T. K., "An Alternate Compression Test method for Notched and Unnotched Composites," 45th International SAMPE Symposium: Proceedings, Long Beach, CA, May 21-25, 2000, pp. 1149-1152. pdf
  • Bardis, Jason, and Kedward, Keith, "Surface Preparation for Adhesively Bonded Composite Joints," poster presented at 14th Annual ASC Technical Conference, Dayton, OH, September 27-29, 1999.
  • Tsotsis, T. K., Keller, S., Lee, K., and Bardis, J., "3000 Hours Aging of Polymeric Composite Specimens Under Elevated Pressure and Temperature," presented at 44th International SAMPE Symposium, May 1999 (closed paper).
  • Tsotsis, Thomas K., Keller, Scott, Bardis, Jason, and Bish, Jack, "Preliminary Evaluation of the use of Elevated Pressure to Accelerate Thermo-Oxidative Aging in Composites," Polymer Degradation and Stability, vol. 64, 1999, pp. 207-212. pdf
  • Bardis, Jason, "Hybrid Electric Vehicle," Cornell Engineer, April 1992, p. 4
news :::: shop :::: projects :::: gallery :::: sponsor :::: infernoTV :::: media :::: contact :::: about :::: DANTE :::: links

All content © Jason Dante Bardis and the Infernolab, 1999-2016