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Robo Genius was a series of educational segments shown at the end of every episode of King of Bots II. Hosted by Tao Shen, the 10-minute segments involved a group of children exploring various aspects of robotics and robot combat in a classroom-style setting, through taking part in a series of lessons, workshops and building challenges. Established King of Bots builders Wang Xi and Song Peng featured as mentors for each of the activities covered in these segments.

The Robo Genius segments were produced as a promotion for Season 2 partners UBTECH, whose robot building kits were prominently used. UBTECH also collaborated with King of Bots to organize a robotics club under the same name, which runs multiple AI/robotics competitions under the 'Global Youth Robotics Challenge' initiative.[1]

EpisodesEdit

Episode Title First aired Summary Link
Episode 1 14th July 2019 The segment began with introductions and a short workshop, including an overview of a typical featherweight-sized drum spinner. These were followed by lessons on electrical circuits, motors and different types of locomotion used by various robots. Competitors showcased in this segment included Black Rabbit, Dragon King and Fango, representing examples of wheeled, tracked and walking robots respectively. [2]
Episode 2 21st July 2019 Following on from Episode 1, the children were tasked with building a robot capable of traversing a short obstacle course in the quickest time possible. Each participant had the freedom to choose one of two routes - one with a large pile of bricks, the other with a steep ramp - and to include features enabling their robots to finish the course faster. All robots successfully completed the course, some of which were built with flipping, lifting or spinning weapons to clear bricks away. The segment used footage of Snake and Drift from the main Season 2 while highlighting the former weapon types. [3]
Episode 3 28th July 2019 This segment focused on gripping/clamping weapons, beginning with demonstrations of a toy claw machine and a remote-controlled excavator. Xi explained the functions of a full-sized excavator, before Peng demonstrated the effectiveness of various types of gripping weapon using three pre-built robots. This was followed by a short game of rock-paper-scissors involving Shen, wearing a bionic hand, then a team-based challenge. The children were put into pairs and tasked with retrieving yellow blocks using one of the pre-built robots. Of the robots used, the vertical lifter/grabber design proved the most effective, retrieving four blocks within the given time limit. Footage of Greedy Snake's Season 1 run was used to highlight how a similar vertical lifting/grabbing weapon could be used in robot combat. [4]
Episode 4 4th August 2019 The children were split into two groups, lead by Xi and Peng, and tasked with a pair of soccer-related challenges. Both groups were required to build robots capable of steering and pushing balls into a soccer goal, while fending off competition from robots controlled by Xi and Peng themselves. Before the challenges, both builders explained various weapons and mechanisms which could be used to control the balls, including horizontal grabbing arms (similar to Silver Scorpion), as well as fast-acting rams and rear-hinged flippers inspired by Tánshè. [5]
Episode 5 11th August 2019 Following on from the previous episode, the two teams were divided into three pairs and competed against each other in a series of timed challenges. The challenges lasted between 1-2 minutes and involved competitors either collecting cubes and bringing them to their drop zones, scoring goals with a ball, or taking opponent's cubes and bringing them to their own goals. The child contestant with the highest overall score across all three challenges would be declared victorious. [6]
Episode 6 18th August 2019 The segment focused on a debate competition, discussing whether good robots or good driving skills were the most important part of robot combat.[7] To support certain aspects of the debate, footage from Season 2 and the spin-off series This is Fighting Robots was used. Clips included Greedy Snake driving itself into the pit against 008, Xiake and Vulcan, Xiake’s attack on 008 during the aforementioned melee and Two BBQ's battle against Doraemon, shown earlier in the main episode. [8]
Episode 7 25th August 2019 Once again divided into teams, the children competed in a basketball-style challenge, where they were tasked with building robots to retrieve and shoot balls through a net. During the build process, Peng explained the motions of a see-saw to help visualize a catapult-style weapon for shooting hoops, while Xi demonstrated a front-hinged flipper mechanism using a pre-built robot kit. The segment concluded with a preview of the challenge itself, which was shown in Episode 8. [9]
Episode 8 1st September 2019 Conclusion of the basketball challenge introduced in Episode 7, featuring two separate matches. The blue team dominated, winning the first match 2-0 and the second 4-0. [10]
Episode 9 8th September 2019 The first part of this segment featured a workshop on sensors, demonstrated through AI robots and devices made from UBTECH pieces. Initially, the children were asked questions about the basketball challenge from the previous two episodes, before the function of the hoops and scoreboards used in said challenge was explained. Color sensors determined whether points from red (1) or blue (2) balls could be scored through the hoop at any one time. Additional types of motion and touch sensors (e.g. for bridges, gates or light switches) were also demonstrated, before the children built new robots featuring these sensors. Over a mealtime section, the mentors reflected on the children’s experiences throughout the series up to this point. [11]
Episode 10 15th September 2019 The segment opened with a behind-the-scenes section, featuring battles from the main episode and a tour through the King of Bots pit area lead by Wang Xi. Competitor robots featured during the tour included Spectre, Boxing Champion, Hold Me Back, The Hounds, Saber, Dragon King and Xi’s own robot, Snake. The rules for the final challenge were then established - an object collection game with robot combat elements – followed by introductions to two potential robot designs. These designs included a tracked lifter/grabber for collecting and guiding balls to each team’s goals, and a two-wheeled vertical spinner capable of flipping opponents over. To help explain viable tactics for both robots, montages of Snake and Two BBQ’s Season 2 runs were shown, the latter also including footage from its Season 1, Season 1.5 and 2019 Opening Battle runs. Finally, the captains of Saber and Deep-Sea Shark were introduced as additional mentors for the challenge. [12]
Episode 11 22nd September 2019 Following on from Episode 10, the children began building their robots for the final challenge, while Song Peng and Wang Xi further explained the scoring system and arena obstacles. The first two matches followed, pitching a team of four children (red) against the experienced King of Bots roboteers (blue). Both were won by the blue team, by 2-0 and 3-1 respectively. The segment concluded with a prize-giving section; prizes given away included a watch, Snake’s Season 2 lifting panel and two UBTECH robot kits. [13]
Episode 12 28th September 2019 The conclusion of the final challenge, consisting of a third fifteen-minute match between the child contestants, each representing the red and blue teams. After a tense and fiercely contested encounter, including an aggressive display from a spinner-wielding robot, the blue team again emerged victorious, despite having their goals being intercepted twice by the red team. [14]

ReferencesEdit

  1. https://competition.ubtrobot.com/
  2. Season 2, Episode 1 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  3. Season 2, Episode 2 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  4. Season 2, Episode 3 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  5. Season 2, Episode 4 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  6. Season 2, Episode 5 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  7. Private correspondence with Xuanyuan Wencheng.
  8. Season 2, Episode 6 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  9. Season 2, Episode 7 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  10. Season 2, Episode 8 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  11. Season 2, Episode 9 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  12. Season 2, Episode 10 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  13. Season 2, Episode 11 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
  14. Season 2, Episode 12 (Official Zhejiang TV YouTube link)
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