Spectator Info for Mecha-Mayhem 2008

In the 21st Century, technology is an ever more integrated and essential part of our world. Nowhere is this truer than in entertainment and education, which are rapidly becoming intertwined as our culture continues to embrace technological advances as a vital component of everyday life. That fusion of the present and the future of learning and excitement is at the core of the electrifying “cyber-sport” of robotic combat.

Robotic combat is a sport pitting radio-controlled robots against one another in battles often leading to the spectacular destruction of the losing ‘bot by the winner. Television programs such as BattleBots, Robot Wars, Robotica, and pay-per-view events have featured these fascinating, fast-paced events since the 1990s and have reached huge audiences. Robot “warriors” use many methods to defeat their opponents, including fire, pneumatic hammers, saws, drills, ramming, heavy spinning blades, launching their foes into the air sometimes as high as 8–10 feet, and crushing mechanical jaws. Robotic combat is truly an “ultimate fighting” contest between not only the robots themselves, but the teams of engineers and creators who build these complex machines.

However, robotics is not merely the domain of geeks and computer junkies. Extreme contests such as the mixed martial arts in the Ultimate Fighting Championships, part of the ultra-popular “reality” entertainment trend, are drawing huge crowds and massive viewership. Robotic combat is the technological equivalent to those endeavors, but is open to almost everyone, not just world-class athletes.

Every year, tens of thousands of spectators gather at events around the world to watch thousands of competitors, from grade-school students to elite engineers, face off for glory, prizes, and sheer enjoyment. These contests are covered in all types of major media outlets—NBC, CNN, The New York Times, USA Today, The Discovery Channel, and ESPN have all reported on robotics competitions, reaching an audience of millions on every continent.


On October 16–19, 2008, the Chicago Robotic Combat Association is bringing this fast-paced, action-packed spectacle to a whole, new audience in the Chicago area and the Midwest. The CRCA plans to become not only the first major robotic combat organization in Chicago, but also intends to develop one of the foremost events of its kind in the country. The CRCA’s Mecha-Mayhem 2008 will be the second of an annually recurring extravaganza of robot builders, electronics enthusiasts, and mainstream audiences enjoying the exciting pastime of competitive robotics.

From the tiny 150-gram (1/3-pound) micro-‘bots to 340-pound juggernauts battling it out, spectators will have the chance to see more than a hundred spark-spitting, metal-crunching matches featuring some of the most amazing action imaginable. It’s a thrilling spectacle not to be missed!

Alongside the CRCA, the Chicago Area Robotics Group (ChiBots) will be running their Chibotica autonomous robotics problem-solving competition. At this annual event, dozens of the brightest amateur and pro robotics engineers will compete in “thinking robot” challenges—escaping mazes, robot combat sumo, and other complex tasks—showing yet another dimension of this thrilling pursuit.


Mecha-Mayhem 2008 will run during Hobby Manufacturers Association’s iHobby Expo. Held at the 840,000 square-foot Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois from October 16–19, the iHobby Expo is now in its 24th year, with a projected attendance of more than 20,000 for 2007. This four-day trade show and publicly accessible event is the largest event of its kind in the world, and is covered by major news sources in television, radio, and newspapers.

Spectators coming for Mecha-Mayhem not only get to see some of the most spectacular robotic combat happening anywhere, but also get to attend the iHobby Expo, as well. The iHobby Expo is the international showcase for the newest electronic hobbyist technology, models, and valued miniature collectables.

The iHobby Expo features some of the most fascinating and fun hobbyist attractions imaginable. More than 300 exhibitors will be displaying their top-of-the-line products throughout the 200,000 square-foot iHobby show area. Major hobby and toy companies such as Great Planes, Horizon Hobbies, Lionel Trains, Mattel, and Empire Hobbies will be represented at the Expo, providing numerous opportunities for hobbyists of all sorts to find the perfect souvenirs. Make-and-take model kits, airplanes, rocketry, and trains are featured, along with hundreds of displays of die-cast, collectibles, slot cars and tracks, tools, educational games, and videos. There’s something for everyone!

And there’s more, too! Attendees of Mecha-Mayhem at the iHobby Expo will be able to marvel at the more than 60,000 square feet of amazingly detailed model train and railroad exhibits in multiple locations around the Expo. There are miniature-scale monster truck demos, a dirt track for radio controlled cars and trucks, slot car, tracks, and more. Also featured at the iHobby Expo is an indoor flying cage for demonstrations of model airplanes and helicopters, as well as flying competitions to be held throughout the Expo.


A variety of hotels for visitors are available in the Rosemont area and adjacent to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, so no matter what budget and hospitality needs are required, accommodations are no problem. Many hotels offer discounts and benefits for iHobby Expo attendees, so check their Website for special Expo registration and travel information.


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