Greg Munson, President of Battlebots Inc.

First Battlebots competition - battles between "designed for fight" tele-operated robots until destruction - took place in August 1999. Later on, the show was broadcasted in the US, on Comedy Central, then on many other TV channels all around the world (UK, New Zealand...). More than 650 robots were registered for the May 2001 event, and the company/brand is expanding. Greg Munson is its President and Co-Founder. : What are the main qualities a robot (or a team) should have to win a competition?

    Greg Munson : Although building a BattleBot involves a wide spectrum of skills, the most important trait is tenacity - the ability to start the robot building process and ultimately finishing it despite all of the inherent difficulties. The most important characteristic of a finished BattleBot, in my opinion, is durability. Certainly you need a powerful weapon, speed, and maneuverability... but if your robot cannot survive the cumulative attrition of battle, you will not prevail.

Do you consider that "BattleBots" is an entertainment, a mechanical sport or a simple hobby for enthusiasts?

    While BattleBots is a combination of all three of those things, first and foremost it is a sport. Competitors may not be training their muscles, they are training their minds in an effort to compete and win.

Do you envision a future involving big companies such as Sony or Honda in Robots battles?

    While corporate sponsorship already plays an active role in the sport, we do envision a future where large corporations will enter their own BattleBot creations to see if they can prevail as champions. While this influx of exposure and investment will push the envelope of the sport, there will always be opportunities for the "little man" to prevail against the larger teams (a la David et Goliath).

Can you give us an idea of the audience attending BattleBots TV shows?

    The demographic target audience is no longer limited to 18-49 year old males. BattleBots has always been a creative outlet for top flite engineers, programmers, and scientists. Now however, BattleBots draws interest from increasing numbers of women, children, and students. But ultimately, BattleBots is for anyone who enjoys the visceral thrill of mechanical destruction without any humans being harmed.

What are the next steps of development for the BattleBots brand and events?

    By late 2001, major toy manufacturers like Hasbro, Tiger Electronics, and Jakks Pacific, among others, will release official merchandise and toys based on actual BattleBots robotic contestants.

    BattleBots Inc. is also developing a youth educational curriculum known as BattleBots IQ, which will teach high school students about engineering through the design and construction of an actual BattleBot!

    BattleBots IQ culminates when teams of high school robot builders compete against each other in an official BattleBots IQ youth tournament. Plans are even in the works for the event to be televised as a children's television series. We'll see how this all plays out.

Interview by Cyril Fievet, September 13, 2001

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