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 News: 2002 Archive

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2002 Highlights:

  • Dr. Inferno Jr. was the BattleBots season 5.0 lightweight champ
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. was the BattleBots season 4.0 lightweight rumble champ
  • Lame-O & Same-O Inferno: world's 1st multibot driven by 1 driver
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. custom series tournament edition remote control toy by Hasbro
  • Started new job designing electric motors for sponsor ThinGap
  • Same-O Inferno won Sozbots 1.4
  • Lame-O & Same-O Inferno sweep Robojoust antweight class in 1-2 finish
  • Dr. Inferno Jr. audio CD single
  • Several Infernolab appearances in bot-related books
  • Finished my Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
  • Towering Inferno's first fully televised fight

12.22.2002: Well, season 5.0 of BattleBots wrapped up last night, with the lightweight semi-finals. Dr. Inferno Jr. KO'ed old pal Gamma Raptor. Well, OK, Gamma Raptor was doing quite well until, in a cross-box slam on the Dr., Gamma Raptor knocked himself on his back against the wall. I quickly corralled him in & made sure that he didn't get back up, doing a little saw work on his belly in the meantime. In the finals against Wedge of Doom, The Dr. was on the ropes until the Wedge of Doom blew up the controller for half his drivetrain and crippled himself. A close 23-22 judges' decision granted Dr. Inferno Jr. the championship. The BattleBots season 5.0 champion is Dr. Inferno Jr. Back on top! 3 giant nuts in the last 3 BattleBots events. Not too shabby! :]

Gamma Raptor & Wedge of Doom, as well as the Dr., are signed up to compete at Steel Conflict in February 2003, so there might be some grudge match action! If you're in the Los Angeles area, pick up tickets for what's shaping up to be the biggest bot event since the last BattleBots!


12.19.2002: I just got back from the Robotics Society of America Robot Fair & Expo up in San Francisco. Sozbots put on a great antweight event, where I debuted the all-new Lame-O AND Same-O Inferno multibot. Driving both bots simultaneously turned out to be trickier than I'd anticipated, despite some practice. Still, I managed to end up somewhere mid-pack in the field of 31 entries, with a bye, a win, a loss, a win, then my 2nd and final loss.

Make sure to tune in to Comedy Central this Saturday, 12/21/02, from 8PM-9PM, to see the final episode of BattleBots season 5.0. Dr. Inferno Jr. is in the final 4 in the lightweight division--see how far he gets this season!

The BattleBots: Beyond the Box video game for the Gameboy Advance is out now. Buy it here if you want to battle bots on the go! Here are a couple of screen shots to whet your appetite: Hazard clobbering Deadblow , The Jaws of Death chomping on Diesector.

Finally, on a personal note, I closed on my condo a few days ago--can't wait to set up my garage machine shop!!!


12.03.2002: I'm sleepy, so just a short update. Dr. Inferno Jr. defeated Death By Monkeys in the quarter-finals on BattleBots on Comedy Central on Saturday, Nov 23. Down to the semi-finals. Dr. Inferno Jr. vs. Gamma Raptor. Again. Rematch time! Tune in on Dec 21 to see if I can take down the dino again.

There's one new clip on infernoTV. BattleBots.com put up their 8th installment in their behind-the-scenes video series shot back at season 5.0 in May. This segment is all about fashion. And how could there possibly be a BattleBots fashion segment without me!?

I've just registered my bots for the next Steel Conflict. In attendance will be the all-new Lame-O and Same-O Inferno multibot, Hell on Wheels, & the much much faster Dr. Inferno Jr. It took only a couple of days for them to fill up their available bot slots--this is going to be a killer event! You don't want to miss seeing Steel Conflict, so head on over to their site & buy tickets to watch the action in person on Feb 8 & 9, 2003. Now!


11.23.2002: Howdy

Dr. Inferno Jr. will be on BattleBots on Comedy Central tonight, Saturday, Nov 23. They'll be showing all of the lightweight quarter-finals fights to get down to the final 4 in this 60lb class. Wish me luck against powerful pokey rammer Death By Monkeys!

Also, Sozbots 1.5 will be taking place at the next San Francisco Robotics Society of America event at Fort Mason (birthplace of robot combat!) on my birthday, December 15. What a birthday present! I've finished an interesting rebuild of Lame-O and Same-O Inferno. Yup, I'm bringing both bots back again, but this time, they're a multibot. Each bot has been slimmed down (thanks to some long hours with a dremel & to some great lightweight components from Sozbots & sponsor Robotic Power Solutions) to weigh only 1/2lb each. To make matters even more interesting, I'll be driving both halves of the multibot myself, Lame-O with my right hand joystick and Same-O with the left.


11.17.2002: So, welcome to the long-overdue new Infernolab site. The site should load faster and be easier on your eyes, and I've finally adopted a modern look. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you find a bad link or have any problems with the site. Thanks to Reeves Little for doing lots of the formatting & some graphics work. Big thanks to Adam Conus for redoing the Infernolab logo & symbol. As soon as I deplete my supply of stickers, shirts, etc., I'll be adopting the hot new logos on all bots & merchandise.

One more small recent media apperance to report. The Village Voice of Ottawa Hills, newsletter of my hometown outside of Toledo, OH, published a small article on me.

Well, Dr. Inferno Jr. came out on top in the "great cute plastic toy robot fight of 2002" against Tentoumushi. It was a tough fight--I underestimated the power of the ladybug & almost paid the price. The Dr. will be back on BattleBots next Saturday, Nov 23, when Comedy Central shows an abbreviated version of his battle against Death By Monkeys. I sure hope that they use the slam cam footage--it's pretty rare to see a lightweight bot with room to house the slam cam, but we managed to shoehorn it into the Dr.'s torso for this fight.

Because Comedy Central didn't air Dr. Inferno Jr.'s first TV round fight against Aferburner, here's a quick recap, if you're wondering why the Dr. had a bloody stump instead of a right arm during the Tentoumushi fight:

Afterburner is a lightweight version of Team Loki's middleweight Turbo. It's got a cool-looking knocker-laden shell that's spun by 2 powerful electric bicycle motors. I never saw his earlier fights, so I didn't know what to expect, but I did see what he did to The Crusher (thoroughly tweaked) & was told that Afterburner had mangled his way through the prelims. Yikes.

Fortunately, I had a little weight to spare and found yet more by pulling off several redundant bolts here & there. I was able to double up the Dr.'s back flap, giving him a total of 3/4" lexan on the scoop, darn thick for a lightweight.

I started out the fight driving backwards & backed into him a couple of times. Nothing too bad happened--I did lose the end of the outer flap on the back & took several deep gouges to that same part, but Afterburner couldn't get through the 3/4" of polycarbonate.

Seeing that I wasn't taking much damage going in backwards, I became bold & turned around to dig in with the saws on the front. Oops. The Dr.'s right arm was instantly torn off, and just about all that was left was the weapon motor, dangling sadly by its wires. Fortunately, in the process of this shove & rush, I got Afterburner into the spike strip & flipped him over onto his side, where he was stuck. I'd like to think that the tri-foil arm saws actually did their job, but it all happened so fast that I'm not sure exactly what happened.

I already had the win but decided to go for it & flipped Afterburner onto his top & scooted him to the nearest pulverizer. I remember a crewbot yelling at me, pointing out that I'd already won the fight & could jinx it by this bold move, but I ignored him--I was having too much fun. It was probably the most fun I'd had yet in a BattleBots fight, probably because I was very worried at the start and things ended up going far better than expected.

I sent my pit crew guys, Dave & Nick, to the first aid area to get some gauze. A little red spray paint later & I was ready to take on Tentoumushi"with one arm tied behind my back." Before and after pictures are in the Dr. Inferno Jr. gallery.


11.15.2002: Dr. Inferno Jr. will be on BattleBots this weekend. Tune in at 8PM on Saturday night on Comedy Central to watch the Dr. duke it out with fellow plastic-bot Tentoumushi.

I got a final copy of the new book Building Bots: Designing & Building Warrior Robots, by Bill Gurstelle. Looks pretty slick to see it in its final form. It's a great reference and how-to to help out newbies & experienced builders. Check it out.

I've started working full-time for ThinGap, the very same cool electric motor company that sponsored me with high-tech motors for Hell on Wheels. Work's really fun son far, and the more I learn about our ThinGap motors, the more I'm amazed--these are going to be huge! Right now I'm commuting 40 minutes, but I should be closing on a swell condominium very near work by early December. Hooray for 2-car garages, errr, I mean "20 robot garage."

The Dr. & I appeared in some pictures & quotations in a fun article on BattleBots that appeared in the October 2002 issue of the adult magazine Gallery. Click here to see the article (don't worry, this page is rated PG-13). Cool--I'm in a porn mag!

In other news, the History Channel showed a 2-hour program all about destruction, including a prominent segment on BattleBots, which had some great clips of Slugger slugging it out in the heavyweight rumble in the Las Vegas pay-per-view.

Finally, head on over to Steel Conflict to pick up a copy of the 1st video from the August 2002 event, in which Hell on Wheels participated. It's the most thorough bot coverage videotape I've ever seen! Tape #2 of the series that documents Steel Conflict 1 should be out soon, too.


10.02.2002: I just received issue 3 of BattleBots Magazine. It's got lots of good technical articles and some detailed info on the inaugural BattleBots IQ event that took place in March 2002. I contributed an article on composite materials and also was the content editor, trudging through run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers, split infinitives, and non-parallel verb structures. Fun! You can buy the issue or, better yet, subscribe to the magazine in the Infernolab Shop.

Also, you can now order your copy of BattleBots: Beyond the BattleBox, a new video game for the Game Boy Advance handheld system. It will be out on Friday the 4th. I've seen a video and some pictures (Hazard clobbering Deadblow , The Jaws of Death clamping on Diesector) and it looks fun. You can pick it up in the Infernolab shop.

I received some nice photos of Infernolab bots in the pits from BattleBots season 5.0 back in May. The Dr. Inferno Jr. gallery and Towering Inferno gallery have new images.

BattleBots.com has put up episode 4 of their series of behind-the-scenes videos from season 5.0. This clip shows the story behind graphic and names of bots. There's a little bit of Dr. Inferno Jr. history in there. You can access all of these videos from InfernoTV.

Finally, I plan on taking a fully revamped Lame-O and Same-O Inferno to compete in Sozbots 1.5 at the next San Francisco Robotics Society of America event in the Exploratorium science museum. I'll also bring back my non-winning LEGO Mindstorms remote control mini sumo bot aptly named Two Hours and Zero Dollars.


09.17.2002: Just got back from BotBash. Wow, heck of an event. New expanding arena built on a trailer, new fight format (2-on-2 soccer, flag capture, & fighting), and hot hot hot Arizona weather! Hell on Wheels wasn't so hot, and Lame-O Inferno lived up to his name, but Same-O Inferno fared much better, snagging 1st place! My friend Robert Masek mailed me his 30lb bot from New Hampshire, JB Johnson, the night before the event so I could drive it for him in his absence--definitely a fast little bot that has lots of promise. JB Johnson ended up in 5th place in his class--heck, I did better with Robert's bot than with Hell on Wheels--thanks for the fun, Robert!

Huge news in the BattleBots world. First, Comedy Central has decided not to renew their contract with BattleBots, so the November 2002 event, where season 6.0 would have been filmed, has been canceled. :[ Second, the TV show time slot has been moved--you can now catch BattleBots at 8PM on Saturdays. Check TV Guide to confirm your local times & the repeats schedule.

Bill Gurstelle, who introduced himself to me at BotBash 2001 (and gave me a copy of his cool book, Backyard Ballistics), has been working hard for the last year on a new book called Building Bots: Designing & Building Warrior Robots, which should be out in October. I reviewed a couple of the chapters back in December & I just finished reading an uncorrected early proof of the book. It looks really good--it's a great tutorial for new builders & has some good reference material for experienced bot folks. You can pick it up in the Infernolab store or just click here to pre-order a copy.

The big Infernolab sale is going great--click here to see what's left--I've still got Dr. Inferno Jr.'s old shell, lots of batteries, chargers, motors, a welder, & some other goodies for sale.


09.09.2002: Lots has happened since the last Infernolab update. Where to start? How about with the Dr. Inferno Jr. remote control Custom Series BattleBots toys that are now available on-line right here in the Infernolab Shop. Just click here to buy! I've only got access to the lone Dr. Inferno Jr. toys right now--to get a Dr. Inferno Jr./Blendo combo, you'll have to trudge over to your local Target.

I had a great time at Steve Brown's inaugural Steel Conflict event, which had bots from 120lb all the way down to 1lb. Hell on Wheels ended up in the absolute middle of the 12lb pack, at 6th place. The new weapon worked great--after my first fight, I ended up bending the front spike down to make it a 1-point wedge, as many of the bots in that class were good pushers & the arena had 2 big pits in it! I think I'll squeeze his voltage back up to 18V for the weekend's BotBash, however. Sozbots ran the antweight event, and because of a few cancellations, they let me enter both Lame-O & Same-O Inferno, who achieved 2-2 and 3-2 records for the event. But the highlight was an absolutely sweet battle between my buddy Pete Abrahamson's Tsunami and Same-O. The crowd went nuts--he took me apart, but I still shoved him all over the place. Those BattleBots toys are tough! The footage was so good that Pete edited it into a sweet little fight video that I added to InfernoTV. Steel Conflict is already scheduled for a new event in February 2003 in LA--get your bots ready!

I've done some seriously overdue Spring cleaning & come up with a whole big mess of robot stuff for sale super cheap. Batteries, chargers, motors, posters, bearings, a welder, BASIC stamp computer kits, Missing Link's drivetrain, even a 1994 record picture disk of Robot Wars theme music! I've posted detailed pictures & descriptions at the BattleBots discussion forum--click here to check it out & find some sweet deals on handy bot parts & Infernolab memorabilia.

Finally, I got word that Dr. Inferno Jr. will be on the November 12 episode, show #13 of season 5.0 of Comedy Central's BattleBots. Don't worry. I'll remind you when the airdate is closer.


08.18.2002: I drove up the California coast to survey the Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other beautiful Italian cars up at the Concorso Italiano this weekend & stopped at 3 Target stores between Santa Barbara & Monterey to pick up a handful of the Dr. Inferno Jr. remote control Custom Series BattleBots toys. They're great--I especially like the new interchangeable weapons that they include: a devil's pitchfork (how Infernal!) and a giant hammer that's about 3x bigger than his body! Pictures of the toys are in the Dr. Inferno Jr. gallery. The toy comes alone or packaged with Blendo.

Machine Arts & I have been busy. We put together two all-new weapons for Hell on Wheels: a hammer end with multiple threaded holes for attaching various spikes, and a new pair of poking sticks that are longer and thicker than the first set. I'll try out these new weapons at Steel Conflict next weekend than again at BotBash next month. We also made up new hardened tool steel chisel spikes for Towering Inferno and some motor mounts that I designed to work with the Team Delta 18V DeWalt drill motor setups that I'm using on the upgraded Dr. Inferno Jr. for season 6.0 and beyond.

New to the Infernolab store is a new book called Fighting Robots that details hundreds and hundreds of fighting bots from all of the major competitions--included in the list are Infernolab creations The Missing Link, Mini Inferno, Towering Inferno, and Dr. Inferno Jr. Author Michael Benson has put together a very thorough reference book. Click here to purchase the book.

Last, but not least, season 5.0 of Comedy Central's BattleBots starts this coming Tuesday, August 20. Unfortunately, Towering Inferno did not make it out of the preliminary rounds this time, losing to a solid spinner named Ripkin, but you'll definitely be seeing a lot of Dr. Inferno Jr. later on in the season.


08.09.2002: Well, the Dr. Inferno Jr. remote control Custom Series BattleBots toy is on the shelves! They've been sighted at Target stores so far. You can buy the Dr. alone or paired up with Blendo--I'm not sure if there are any other combinations available. I'll have a link to purchase these straight from the Infernolab site pretty soon.


In other news, sponsors Machine Arts & PTC are now also helping out with Hell on Wheels. I drew up a new multi-directional hammer weapon on Pro/Engineer & Machine Arts is putting it together. I'll try it out at this month's Steel Conflict event in Pomona--check their website for audience tickets.

Finally, the new BattleBots: Beyond the BattleBox video game cartridge for the Game Boy Advance is set to be released in 1 month, on September 10. Initial screen shots & video captures make it look pretty slick!


07.24.2002: I entered just 1 antweight in last weekend's Sozbots event. Lame-O Inferno scooped and plowed his way to a 4th place win in the field of 32 entries! And I think I can say that Lame-O was one of the cheapest & most hastily put together bots there--I was blown away by some of the sweet machines that people put together! I got in 4 wins and 2 losses--lots of fun fighting time, not to mention the crazy rumble with a couple dozen bots! Check out the full event results.

Just a little work to do on the scoop & 1 wheel & I'm ready for the next 2 Sozbots events coming up in the next 2 months!

Almost forgot--BattleBots season 5.0 will start airing on August 20. To see how Dr. Inferno Jr. & Towering Inferno did, tune in Tuesdays at 10PM starting on that date!


07.16.2002: 2 quick news briefs: Lame-O Inferno and Same-O Inferno won the antweight RoboJoust competition, and there are lots of new items in the Infernolab shop.

It was a long & hot weekend in Las Vegas! In 110-degree heat, under a cloudless sky, a couple dozen bots ranging from 1 to 220lb fought in a cozy little street arena at the Las Vegas Street Fight 3.0. Seven antweight bots showed up, counting both Lame-O & Same-O. Both of my bots made it to the finals, where they had to fight each other. I recruited Mike Konshak to drive Lame-O (or was it Same-O???). We're not sure who really won that last fight--it was sort of a moot point... :] But I came home with a big gold spray-painted screw trophy. Neat! Next weekend, I'll be bringing 1 or both ants to Sozbots in Burbank, CA. They're ready to go, after replacing the carbon fiber scoops that got a bit chewed up by RoboJoust's arena saw.

I've expanded the Infernolab shop to include BattleBots merchandise. Now you can pick up all of the toys (like the Custom Series remote control toys used to make my antweights) & other goodies (like the BattleBots magazine) right here!


07.07.2002: Lots of news lately!

A brand new bot has entered the Infernolab stable (2, actually). Not wanting to get left behind in the new 1lb antweight class that's gaining popularity, I whipped up a modest little bot, based on a Hasbro BattleBots Custom Series remote control Killherhurtz toy. A little grinding, drilling, and filing, plus the addition of a carbon fiber composite scoop, and Lame-O Inferno was born! And heck, when a bot costs $25 to put together, why not spend a 2nd afternoon and make a copy for practice fights in the kitchen (I call the 2nd bot Same-O Inferno)? And why "Lame-O"? Well, the bot's simple, cheap, uncreative, and I whipped him together just for the heck of it. I'll have 4(!) opportunities to fight with Lame-O Inferno in the next 3 months: RoboJoust in Vegas, Sozbots in Burbank, BotBash in Phoenix, and Steel Conflict in Pomona.

The new antweights are powered by high capacity NiCad batteries from new sponsor Robotic Power Solutions. Additionally, they provided powerful new 3.0Ah NiMH BattlePack batteries for Dr. Inferno Jr. & Hell on Wheels and their teeny AAA batteries will be powering all of my bots' radio receivers, saving a few ounces.

Also, an interview with me was just published in the May/June 2002 issue of Imagine... magazine. This is a neat publication geared toward academically talented high school students and put out by Johns Hopkins University. Most of the issue focuses on robotics, including the new BattleBots IQ program. Second, I checked out a copy of the May 2-8, 2002 issue of vsd magazine from France. There's an article on BattleBots with, strangely enough, a picture of me and other competitors in the Robot Wars 97 featherweight rumble...


06.12.2002: Well, the taping of BattleBots season 5.0 is a wrap! I'm bound under a non-disclosure agreement to keep the results quiet, so make sure to tune in when the new season starts airing in August. Believe it or not, I've already started on some upgrades for Dr. Inferno Jr. & Towering Inferno--no time like the present (being unemployed and all...)!

I want to thank the following people for great help for and during this past BattleBots:

  • Nick, Dave, and James: my great pit crew who took my orders with a smile, lifted heavy things, turned wrenches, gave me advice, and looked over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't doing anything stupid...
  • Jeffrey & company at Machine Arts for lots of great machining work on the bots.
  • Penny, Scott, & company at Specialty Tool & Bolt for keeping me flush with fasteners and various industrial odds & ends that the bots needed
  • Hosting.com for keeping infernolab.com up & running
  • Toni Armstrong Jr. for her regular and generous personal sponsorship donations
  • Steve Hill of Robotic Power Solutions for modifying Dr. Inferno Jr.'s batteries between bouts to give the Doc some more power. And Steve will be sponsoring me with some hot new battery packs for upcoming events, too!

I've got another new picture in the fan gallery page. Keep those submissions coming!


05.18.2002: No time to update lately--I've been swamped. Tons of news to report, though.

I leave tomorrow morning for the next BattleBots event and both Dr. Inferno Jr. and Towering Inferno are packed up & ready to go. I had some last-minute changes to make, but they're ready! If you want to see the event live, pick up tickets! Thanks again to my great sponsors for their help in getting the bots back together & upgraded for the upcoming event!

Comedy Central showed up at my house on Wednesday to tape some interviews, demos, and even some swing dancing. This should make for a wacky bio segment in season 5.0.

I've been collaborating with Eban Schletter of Netherota Records for a little while & we finally finished up the Dr. Inferno Jr. CD single! (well, he did all the hard work like the writing, recording, & performing--I just provided some sound samples & some recorded intro dialogue...). Check out an MP3 of the title track [2.3MB]. If you want to hear the other songs, the CD's a mere $5, including shipping. Act now!

I've got several new pictures in the fan gallery page. Keep those submissions coming!

A great new robot book is out. BattleBots: The Official Guide is a great big thick coffee table book with the history, people, and machines behind the bots. It's full of stats, rules, and great photos. There's even a spread on Dr. Inferno Jr. You can pick it up at the Infernolab shop.

Luke Laurie put on another great robotics event through his Robo-Challenge program for grade school & high school students throughout Santa Barbara county. I brought back previous tug-o-war champs Longneck & The Infernal Brick of Despair for more action. This year, high school students with the entry Flash took the top honors, besting both of my bots on their way to the top. The Infernal Brick of Despair fell in the finals, gaining 2nd place, while former champ Longneck was toppled by Flash in the semi-finals. Congratulations to the Flash team & all of the others with their great tug-o-war, line-following, sumo, and other awesome LEGO bots!

Finally, now that I'm all done with my Ph.D., I'm on the hunt for a job! If you or anybody you know might be looking for a Mechanical Engineer with experience in robotics, composite materials, manufacturing, aerospace, and design, please check out my resume & send me a note!


04.29.2002: Busy busy busy...3 weeks to go till the next BattleBots and I'm pretty much on track for being ready in time. I'm bringing back Dr. Inferno Jr. and Towering Inferno, both with internal upgrades to make them more robust & reliable, but they'll look pretty much the same from the outside. The only noticeable difference will be some fancy brand new titanium hammers with hardened steel replaceable chisel tips, put together by swell sponsor Machine Arts. Dr. Inferno Jr. underwent successful test runs on my back patio a few days ago, and Towering Inferno's nearly re-assembled for testing.

If you want to see the Infernolab bots in action in person, pick up BattleBots tickets. I've said it before & I'll say it again: the TV show's great, but seeing fighting bots in person is sooooo much cooler!

Luke Laurie put up a really fun video covering the February 23 seminar of BattleBots & RoboChallenge LEGO Mindstorms tug-o-war. I'll be hosting a longer version of the video here on InfernoTV pretty soon, but check out the current version in the meantime on Luke's pages.


03.14.2002: You might have noticed that, on this week's episode of BattleBots, there were some photos of me with TWO giant nuts. Hmmm...

Well, Dr. Inferno Jr. didn't do so hot in the BattleBots season 4.0 one-on-one duel competition--he broke down in his 1st fight when his upgraded drivetrain gave out. But, a swap to the old drivetrain got him into the losers' rumble (bots that ended up in positions 17-32 in the event). He held together great & pushed the other bots around the box, but the fuse for the saws weapons blew. After 5 minutes, he was 1 of 2 bots chosen by the judges to advance to the main rumble (top 16 bots in the event).

In the rush to prepare him, while also preparing Towering Inferno for his rumble, I forgot to swap out the blown fuse, but I needed a full 5 minutes of drivetrain power, so I didn't worry about it. This rumble was tough--lots of powerful bots here, but this was a situation where slow & steady won the race--lots of the high-power bots took each other or themselves out, and the number of remaining functional bots dwindled. In the end, the judges picked Dr. Inferno Jr., Hexy Jr., and The Crusher as the finalists. In an audience vote, the doctor came out ahead! Woohoo!


03.10.2002: Boy, some secrets are hard to keep, but the cat's out of the bag now, so I can share! Hasbro & Tiger Electronics are making a remote control Dr. Inferno Jr. toy in the new BattleBots Custom Series Tournament Edition! It will feature the ability to mix & match parts with other bots in the same series. Cool! No official word on when these will hit the shelves, but check back here for more info as it's available.

I got a pre-release copy of The Official Guide to BattleBots and it's a pretty neat book. It covers the top bots in each weight class, with a page on Dr. Inferno Jr. and a great shot of FrenZy beating on Towering Inferno on the cover. It's available now through academic channels and will be out for everybody else pretty soon.

I've got a few more submission for the fan gallery. Keep 'em coming--I love seeing your models & drawings!


02.28.2002: I've updated the Infernolab Shop to include books & magazines. You can now order Robot Riots & the 2 upcoming books listed in the 2/22/2002 news entry directly from The Infernolab, and I've got a link to the cool BattleBots magazine. It's a little sparse right now, but I'll be adding more books, toys, and other products to the store shortly, so you'll be only 1 click away from all sorts of robot goodies.

I had an awesome time on Saturday 2/23/02 with Luke Laurie and his RoboChallenge program, in which he's teaching kids all over the county about robotics, through the use of LEGO Mindstorms. The highlight of the event was a tug-o-war competition for which I made a couple of bots to take on the 3rd-12th grade students. It was a blast. Other high points included demos of Hell on Wheels, Dr. Inferno Jr., Itchy, and Scratchy. Read all about the event here.

The Santa Barbara Newspress came out & ran a short piece in the paper the next day.

Finally, I'm finalizing the details of a solution to make an easy upgrade to Dr. Inferno Jr.'s drivetrain. Once I've got it all nailed down, I'll have some gears for sale here and some part numbers to order the necessary bits elsewhere.


02.22.2002: 2 new BattleBots books are on the way. You can pre-order them at Amazon:


02.15.2002: As of 3PM on Friday, 2/14/2002, I am now Dr. Jason Dante Bardis! After 7.5 years at UCSB, I finally wrapped up my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering.

Sponsor PTC did a write-up on Towering Inferno on their community web pages. Yay.


02.04.2002: This coming week's episode of Comedy Central's BattleBots will have the lightweight finals. I'll be in the show for an in-studio interview, talking with Bil Dwyer about the lightweight bots from this season. Tune in on Tuesday 2/5/02 at 10PM, or catch repeats this weekend.

Well, Towering Inferno got killed by Mechavore on this past episode. Darn. The autopsy revealed that I didn't mount the batteries securely enough one 1 side, and that I didn't use enough screws to hold on the wheel sections on the other side. Both of these problems have been corrected & a new improved (though outwardly nearly-identical) Towering Inferno's already in the works.


01.28.2002: Towering Inferno will be on this coming week's episode of BattleBots. Tune in tomorrow at 10PM on Comedy Central, or catch the repeats over the weekend. Towering Inferno's going up against Mechavore, a powerful bot that did really well last season. I've torn down Towering Inferno to fix up some parts & upgrade some others in preparation for his next event.

On the following week's show, on 2/5/02, BattleBots will be airing the lightweight finals, and they brought me into the studio for an interview to discuss it with Bil Dwyer.

I'll be giving an all-day robotics workshop to junior high students next month. I'll demo some of my LEGO & fighting bots, plus I'll be taking them on in a tug-of-war competition. There's a great program in the Santa Barbara schools called Robochallenge, where they build & program LEGO bots.

There's a BattleBots board game out in stores now--check it out!

I've finished Hell on Wheels' drivetrain upgrades. He's got lots more speed & traction & can now flip himself over when I gun the throttle. I've got a little weight to play with, so next I'll replace his 2 long skewer spears with something a little beefier that will work well in spinning, stabbing, & overhead attacks.

There are a couple more drawings in the fan gallery.


01.07.2002: Happy New Year! I hope that 2002 is as great for robot combat as 2001 was. Just a few quick updates--not much news, I've mostly been recovering & recuperating since the last BattleBots event.

Comedy Central's BattleBots season 4.0 starts tomorrow, January 8. Look for Towering Inferno to take on Mechavore on the January 29 episode, and an in-studio interview with me the following week, on February 5.

I've been doing some minor upgrades to the bots. Hell on Wheels is getting newer, bigger wheels so he'll have better traction & be less likely to get hung up on a wall (so he'll be "Hell on New Wheels"?), and Dr. Inferno Jr. is getting some drivetrain upgrades.

I've been getting some great pictures & models & such from fans, so I decided to put them together into a fan gallery.

The complete 2001 news is now archived.


2001: archived 2001 News page

2000: archived 2000 News page

1999: archived 1999 News page

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