The antweight class of robot is up to 150 grammes in weight (about half a can of fizzy drink) and must fit entirely inside a four inch cube – they literally can sit in the palm of your hand.
The weight class was created around 1998-99 by a small group of Robot Wars competitors who didn’t fancy spending the winter months in the garage, and building a robot on the kitchen table seemed a much better idea.
The idea originally came from Adam Clark (of the original Tinweb discussion forum) and was based on some tiny US military robots that weighed less than 100g. The challenge came from the size of components available to make such a small machine.
Alongside the actual building of the robots was the idea that you could also build your own arena and challenge other people to fight you on ‘home turf’. Different terrain and arena hazards could be built in to the three foot square arenas to make them a different challenge. As weapons developed, however, the need for safety shielding meant that providing an arena became a much larger commitment and only a few people created them.
In a bid to get competitions going, the first (deliberately ironic) Antweight World Series (AWS) was organised in Reading in 1999. Held in a living room, with four roboteers and just six robots (Cannon Fodder, Dozer, Odessey, Pants, Type 0, TyrAnt), the event was fun but fairly tame by modern standards.
That event set the wheels in motion, promoted through this site and Tinweb, and nearly twenty years later, antweight robotics continues to go from strength to strength. Competitions are now fast and furious and frequently have 100 robots enter. Smaller, more powerful components from drones and lithium polymer batteries have meant you can get a lot of bang for your buck. It continues to be both a great way for people to get started in robotic combat and a continued challenge to those who want to push the technology.