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British scientists invent robotic "welly wanger"

Evan Blass

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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