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British scientists invent robotic "welly wanger"

Evan Blass
08.24.06
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With robots having already mastered such mainstream athletic activities as baseball, football, soccer (a.k.a. the "other" football), golf, and, um, foosball, it was only a matter of time before they became adept at lesser known sports such as bowling and Wellington Boot Throwing. A staple of British fashion since the early 19th century, the Wellington Boot (or gumboot, as it's sometimes called) eventually inspired a rather unique sporting event commonly referred to as "welly wanging" (we're not making this up -- it's even in Wikipedia, so it must be true), where the goal is to toss or kick the boot as far as possible. Well it seems that a team of scientists from Aberystwyth University were commissioned by the TV show "Scrapheap Challenge" to build a robotic welly wanger that could hurl the famous footwear even farther than the most adept Olympic shotputter, and by all accounts, they met with unbridled success. Their solution involved hooking a homemade propeller up to an engine from a concrete mixer and a gearbox from a Citroen 2CV, with the whole contraption controlled by three computers calculating such vital variables as wind speed and the propeller's RPMs. The robotic welly wanger is capable of hurling a boot as far as 242-feet, which must be be pretty damn impressive if it got a write-up by the BBC. Oh, and readers, let's see if we can go a whole robot-themed post without someone "welcoming our new welly-wanging overlords" in the comments section, m'kay?

[Via Slashdot]

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