SASKATOON – A seven-person team is planning to take 250 pounds of steel and power from Saskatoon to Los Angeles for one of the world’s biggest robot combat competitions. The Eh Team will be one of three Canadian groups fighting in the upcoming season of BattleBots.
The show made its debut in 2000, gaining popularity for its clashes between weapon-wielding robots . The success was short-lived and the show was cancelled in 2002.
“A number of us have really been fans of BattleBots ever since we were kids,” said Julia Chernushevich, one of the members of The Eh Team.
When ABC resurrected the show in 2015, Chernushevich and some of her co-workers decided to use their experience to enter a robot. Six of the seven members of The Eh Team work at Prairie Machine & Parts in Saskatoon, designing electrical vehicles and mining equipment.
They spent 40 hours a week at their normal job and another 48 hours designing the robot they call ‘Bucktooth Burl.’
Do humans trust robots too much?
Lethbridge youngsters build the ultimate little terminator
Animal vs. robot: Watch what happens when a real canine meets a robo-dog
“It’s a 250 pound destructive machine and it’s meant to look like a beaver, mostly because we’re a Canadian team and we want to get the whole ‘Canada’s going to kick butt’ [message] across,” Chernushevich said.
“We want it to look kind of furry and adorable, but then really have that feisty, fearsome look to it.”
The steel-frame bot will feature a drum weapon with a series of blades spinning at 2800 RPM. Bucktooth Burl runs on two drive motors, four batteries to power its weapon and two batteries to allow movement.
READ MORE: Microbots pull 1,800-kilogram car
Even with several sponsorships and donated materials, the robot has cost approximately $10,000 to create.
All the work is happening in Patric Byrns’ garage.
“We’re all going to be pretty invested in this thing – the amount of hours designing it and building it. It will be destroyed I’m sure,” Byrns said.
Bucktooth Burl and the other 55 BattleBots competitors do battle next month. The show is scheduled to appear on ABC this summer. The other Canadian robots taking part in the competition are “All Black Robotics” from Ontario and MBS Robotics” from Alberta.