Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Rumble Robots Work

        Entertainment | Toys

A Very Palpable Hit
The terminate switch in a Rumble Robot: At the base of the switch, there is a small metal spring surrounded by a larger metal spring. When you press the switch, the two springs come into contact, completing a circuit. Closing this circuit tells the integrated circuit that the robot's switch has been hit.
The terminate switch in a Rumble Robot: At the base of the switch, there is a small metal spring surrounded by a larger metal spring. When you press the switch, the two springs come into contact, completing a circuit. Closing this circuit tells the integrated circuit that the robot's switch has been hit.

In a Rumble Robot match, the object is to score hits on the opposing bots. There are three ways to score hits:

  • Hit the robot's terminate switch - Rumble Robots have a small bumper switch just behind the head. When the robot is pushed against the wall, or when another robot hits it from behind, the switch is pushed closed. This completes a circuit, which tells the integrated controller a hit has been scored.
  • Tip the robot over - Each robot model has an internal gravity switch. The gravity switch has a pendulum element, which closes an electrical connection when you tilt the robot more than 60 degrees on its side. If one robot knocks another one over, the switch registers a hit.
  • Drain the robot's power points with your laser - The laser is actually just a light-emitting diode, like the one in the controller. When you pull the fire trigger, the integrated circuit activates this light. Each robot also has a photocell on its base, which works the same way as the one on its head. This laser LED and photocell are calibrated to a different frequency than the controller transmitter and receiver, so the two systems don't interfere with one another. When the laser receiver picks up the infrared from another robot’s light beam, it tells the integrated circuit that the robot has been hit.
The robot's "laser unit": An infrared LED to shoot light beams and a photocell to receive them
The robot's "laser unit": An infrared LED to shoot light beams and a photocell to receive them

To use the laser, enable the punching mechanism or increase a robot's power, players have to collect the right cards. In the next section, we'll see how Rumble Robots read these cards.