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Excerpt from Modern Metals

Brains + beauty

Machine: MAXIEM 1530

Robotic combat, a competition in which custom-built machines fight each other, has gained popularity in the last 30 years. The sport has become so popular that competitions are found nearly everywhere from high school gyms to regional, national and global venues. It even inspired a couple of reality TV shows, like “Robot Wars” and “BattleBots,” that document the drama and thrills of these good-natured skirmishes.

One of the sport’s earliest fans is Simon Arthur, the founder of Big Blue Saw, a 6,000-square-foot job shop in his hometown of Atlanta. A software engineer as well as science fiction fan, Arthur was introduced to the “sport” when he attended Dragon Con, an annual science fiction convention. The headliner guest speaker one year was Marc Thorpe, a California-based toy designer credited with inventing the game.

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