Robots set to do battle at UEA

Sparks will fly, metal will be mangled and reputations won and lost at the weekend as warring robots do battle in Norfolk.

Sparks will fly, metal will be mangled and reputations won and lost at the weekend as warring robots do battle in Norfolk.

Roboteers will be coming from as far away as Amsterdam to compete at the two-day Extreme Fighting machines tournament at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

Ed Hoppitt, reigning world champion of the top-rated BBC2 show Robot Wars, started organising competitions across the region two years ago.

"The television show was popular because of what I call the Crystal Maze syndrome; everyone who watches it wants to be on it and that's what drives the show's success. It also appeals to a huge spectrum of people," he said.

The radio controlled robots have all been designed to withstand a beating and give as good as they get with the help of spinning bars, axes or blades.

The aim of the game is to smash your opponent to smithereens but the judges of XFM's featherweight challenge also have to take into account style, control, damage and aggression.

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And there is another catch - the stadium is specially designed with a hazard pit which can suddenly open and swallow a robot.

There is also a large hammer which can smash a robot if it is pushed underneath by an opponent.

"It is competitive but there is nothing but camaraderie in the pits. You might fight and break someone's machine but afterwards you might then go and help them fix it so they can be ready for the next battle," added Mr Hoppitt.

"It is educational and entertaining for children because they can watch an exciting robot fight and then pick up tips on how to build their very own robot."

The robots can only use weapons attached to them and are not allowed to shoot or hurl any weapons.

The spectators are also protected from flying debris by a wall of bullet proof glass.

The shows will be held in the LCR at UEA at midday and 3pm on Saturday and Sunday .

Tickets cost £5 each and are available from the XFM ticket hotline on 0870 8555 718 or by emailing enquiries@xfmtickets.com.

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