In another example of science fiction becoming science fact, the Syfy channel has announced a new series that will take ‘Real Steel’ from the motion picture screen to reality.
The series is called ‘Robot Combat League’ and will pit two Rock-em Sock-em Robots against each other in a boxing ring. These robots are not your itty bitty remote control Roomba warriors made famous from the long gone series ‘Robot Wars,’ but actual full sized robots that will be controlled by shadow boxers à la Hugh Jackman in the film.
The series will be hosted by WWE wrestler Chris Jericho who will also provide a play by play commentary. There will be 12 teams consisting of a “robo-jockey’ (the human shadow fighter) and their “robo-tech” (the robotics engineer). Run like an actual boxing event, each fight will consist of three rounds with the winning team advancing to the next competition. If a robot gets disabled during the match, the team has 20 minutes to get it functional and back into the ring. The winning team will walk away with a $100,000 prize.
These robots are remarkable! Weighing in at 1,000 pounds each, these mechanical monsters were designed by robotics expert Mark Setrakian who has worked on ‘Men in Black,’ ‘Blade Trinity,’ and Hellboy.’ Each team will be paired with its own unique robot that has its own strengths and vulnerabilities. What hasn’t changed from the ‘Robot Wars’ years is the names given to the fighters. Viewers will see robots such as “Steampunk” and “Sgt. Smash” work their powerful punches against each other and other opponents.
“It has always been our desire — and it’s really come around perennially — to update and do Battle Bots for the new century,” says Syfy President Mark Stern. “Can we do Real Steel? Are we at a place where you can do real bipedal robots? Every time we tried to do it [the project] was stymied by the technology.”
But it looks like now technology has caught up. “Up until we actually saw them in the ring fighting, we didn’t think it would work,” Stern explains. “Setrakian created a robotics system that can mimic a human’s actions and movements. We’ve had robots decapitated; we’ve had robots cut in half. It was truly spectacular.”
Viewers can see how spectacular robot fighting can be when the series next year, but it may have some competition of its own. Word has it that the Discovery Channel is also developing their own next gen robot combat show which is being produced by James Cameron and Mark Burnett.
‘Robot Combat League’ has just wrapped production last week with the metallic carnage to begin airing on February 26, 2013.
Will you be watching?