The Finalizer – PDA Powered BattleBot

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Getting tired of regular PDAs? How about this one that powers a $28,000 BattleBot called “The Finalizer.” The tank-like bot, complete with lifting arm, 8000 RPM rotary saw, and battle-axe, has a Pocket PC running the latest .NET compact framework for a brain.

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The Finalizer was a hit, both figuratively and literally, a the Microsoft Tech-Ed show in Florida. As part of the demonstration, the BattleBot smashed a network switch with its steel axe, illustrated high-speed failover systems.

As part of the fun, The Finalilzer gave an interview and had the following to say;

I’m built like a tank literally. I have two large tank treads, a body made of steel bars and clear Lexan plastic panels, and more weaponry than your average dumb bot. In addition to my ax, I have a lifter arm that can lift up to 40 pounds and a retractable robotic arm with a rotary saw on the end that reaches 8,000 rpm. I have a really cool-looking smart client dashboard built with Visual Studio 2005 using gauge components supplied by Toronto-based Dundas Gauge for .NET. I also have a camera on a boom that allows Jonathan and his team to see what I see that’s Jonathan Goodyear, the president of ASPSOFT. He and his team are the ones who molded me from being a basic robot built by The Machine Lab in Los Angeles into what I am today. The video feed comes over 1.2 GH RF signals over a broadband Wi-Fi network, and the smart client on the PC side uses a Managed DirectX SDK to capture the video signals and play them on the screen. It also captures input from the Xbox controller that’s used to guide me. We don’t use a mouse. My name is actually a pun on a programming term, in case you hadn’t figured that out but it strikes fear in the servos of other bots, too.

For more of the interview, visit the Microsoft Press Pass site.



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