The Alation Arena: Enter the world of robots

Chitra Rakesh
Chitra Rakesh

We’re getting ready to debut the brand new Alation Arena at the Strata Data Conference in New York this week. Inspired by BattleBots, the popular robot combat television series, and built by world robotic tournament champions’, Zachary Lytle and Diana Tarlson, the arena is ready to make a big entrance. It’s a professional grade, bullet proof arena (we promise!) where you can try your hand at some real-time robotic action. And, if you can’t make it to the Strata Data Conference, the Alation Arena will be making an encore appearance at Teradata Analytics Universe in October.

“Think of it as a mini version of the roman colosseum brought back to life in modern age where two people go at it till the bitter end through an avatar of their robot. There’s going to be mayhem inside but everyone is going to be totally safe outside.”

– Zachary Lytle, seven-time World Robotics Tournament Champion

Here’s a sneak peek for the brave at heart:

Meet the champs

Not only will you get to battle some robots, you’ll also have a chance to meet and greet with BattleBots reigning power couple — Zachary Lytle and Diana Tarlson — at the Alation Arena.

Winner of seven golds at the World Robotics Tournament, Zach had his induction into robotics at 13 when he witnessed Backlash destroy Disposal Hero in less than 30 seconds, in an episode of BattleBots on Comedy Central. From there it was “destroying things” around the house. Whether it was taking copper out of Christmas lights to make a motor, turning a pumpkin into a flamethrower, or ruining a toaster for its heating element, Zach had found his calling.

His partner in crime, and now wife, Diana also grew up watching BattleBots. Her love for fighting robots, however, did not spark off until later when she walked into the Robotics Club at Santa Rosa Junior College. That initial brush with robotics changed her life, and today she’s the second highest ranked woman in combat robotics.

battlebots champions zachary lytle and diana tarlson

Zach and Diana faced off (and met for the very first time!) at the quarter-finals of the world tournament where Zach was the returning champion. She hopped to the arena wearing bunny ears and carrying an Easter basket, which held her 150-gram robot called Baby Bunny. Deceived by her happy-go-lucky bunny girl persona, Zach decided to give her one free shot. That shot proved to be fatal — her titanium death machine crushed Zach’s robot and the match was over in six seconds. Yes, six seconds!

Flames flew inside and outside the arena and they decided to tie the knot. Their love for the sport was apparent at their wedding too. The ring bearer was a 220-pound robot. The robot got to the podium and extended his arm holding up the ring. Now that’s what we call being completely on brand.

Are you ready for the ultimate battle?

The robots are ready. Are you? It typically takes six months to build a robot. It should take you under six minutes to get to the arena at the Alation booth to try your hand at some robotic fisticuffs. There will be multiple robots waiting for you to take the controls.

Four of the robots — Turtle, Venom, Black Widow and Tomb Raider — are high energy spinners. Turtle comes with a shell spinner that sounds like a jet engine and spins at 10,000 RPM! Venom, inspired by BattleBots’ Scorpio, has a grinding wheel and an arm to attack from the top. Black Widow is a vertical disc spinner equipped with the ability to bring the grinding disc straight into you while Tomb Raider is a mini version of the very popular Tombstone.

alation battlebots botzilla

There will also be the more classic bots like Death Roll, a giant alligator robot with huge Titanium teeth, and Botzilla that goes, lifts robots and drags them across the arena.

Then there would be the power-packed Cuddle Bunny — don’t be deceived by its lovable persona. Zach still regrets making that mistake at the world tournament.

Get ready for war and real carnage as these fast, powerful, furious, and destructive line-up of robots battle it out in the Death Cage. Two robots will face-off, the winner will advance on and the last robot standing will be declared the winner.

Powering up the future

Like the Alation Data Catalog, battle bots are a combination of human ingenuity and data-driven insights. With multiple data points from the stall current to the size of the wire, going into constructing a battle bot, a small miscalculation can cause a huge upset. Now that’s something anyone who works with data can relate to.

“The future of BattleBots is going to be a lethal combination of tech and human to drive the best results,” says Zach, and we couldn’t agree more. “We saw the first baby steps of it when Chomp used AI to calculate a hit and break the weapon chain of Bite Force, the #1 ranked robot, giving him a huge upset.”

At Alation, we have great love for robots, and we highly recommend that you stop by the Alation Arena if you like data, robots, and action. In fact, Allie, our esteemed mascot, is going to be Zach’s and Diana’s inspiration, as they design their next robot. We can’t wait. See you in the Arena!

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