√3² (shortened to √3 on television and pronounced Wortel Drie Kwadraat in Dutch, meaning 'square root of three squared') was a three-part clusterbot which competed in the second series of Dutch Robot Wars. It was relatively successful, winning two fights (via judges' decisions) and reaching the Heat Final, before losing to eventual champion PulverizeR.
√3² was unique in that it was the only clusterbot prior to the reboot which was made out of more than two robots. Unlike two-part clusterbots, √3² required two of its three thirds to be immobilised, pitted or thrown out of the arena in order for the whole robot to be eliminated.
√3² was an unusual clusterbot made out of three smaller robots, which resembled a single-seater racing car when joined together. The three robots drove into the arena separately, before assembling together prior to the start of battles, attaching via small hooks. All parts of √3² were painted black and yellow, and consisted of the following robots, from front to back:
- S.O.Xbot (also known as Son of Xbot): a wedged robot with two outside wheels and a lifting arm.
- Elevation: A box-shaped robot with a pneumatic flipping arm, which formed the clusterbot's middle section.
- ODT-0.33: A simple wedge with two outside wheels, described as a 'pinner' on the statistics board.
- "In the meantime, just for fun, I built a small 30kg robot with the old Xbot motors and the smaller speed controllers. I put in a linac for a lifting arm and had fun with it at the small live events. This sparked the idea for the clusterbot √3² … Willem Jacob and Alex were also playing around with 30KG robots, so why not combine them and make a cluster robot? And so it was. We decided that WJ's part was going to be a bit heavier as he had a CO² powered weapon. I had the linac for my lifter and Alex’s part was a basic wedge."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo
In writing, the robot's official name according to the team was √3², meaning "square root of three squared". In mathematical terms, this would be a formula to which the sum would still be three. In Dutch, the name would be pronounced as Wortel Drie Kwadraat. However, the television show dropped all reference to the 'squared' aspect of the name, spelling it as √3 and pronouncing it as Wortel Drie. For simplicity, the team and fans would sometimes spell the robot as V3 when unable to type the full name.
- "√3² was mostly referred to as V3 as most people couldn’t remember all of the keyboard alt codes. In Dutch, it was "Wortel Drie Kwadraat"."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo on the official name
- "At the time, the Robot Wars rules were specific about only entering one robot per team. I was building Impact as my main robot, WJ was building Gravity 1 and Alex had ODT3. So we proposed to production that we would enter the cluster robot in the guise of an "undercover" team and they liked the idea. It was the first ever 3-part heavyweight clusterbot and they were keen to let it enter."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo
√3² was a collaborative effort between three Dutch robot teams; each third of the robot was built and had its own name based on the respective team members' other entries. Three roboteers who had entered the same series with Impact, Gravity and ODT-Zero, joined forces to create the three part clusterbot, each wearing race suits and white racing helmets in keeping with the robot's race car theme. S.O.Xbot was built by Jeroen van Lieverloo from Impact, Elevation was built by WJ Dijkstra from Gravity, and ODT-0.33 was built by Alexander Russchen from ODT-Zero, hence its name.
Dutch Series 2
√3² competed in Heat E, facing ODT-Zero in the first round. Team member Alexander Russchen – who built and entered ODT-Zero – was forced to abandon his entry while he controlled ODT-0.33 for this battle, entrusting ODT-Zero with the rest of Team ODT.
In the battle, the three parts of √3² split up immediately, with Elevation activating the pit and the Floor Spinner in rapid succession while S.O.Xbot rounded up and attempted to push ODT-Zero towards the Flame Pit. Elevation and ODT-0.33 joined in to surround ODT-Zero and disrupt its movements, with all three parts of √3² succeeding in stopping ODT-Zero from driving away. Elevation tried to lift ODT-Zero, only for ODT-Zero to reverse and drive over the Floor Spinner, with Elevation bumping into Refbot immediately after. Both Elevation and S.O.XBot bumped into ODT-Zero again while being spun by the Floor Spinner, with ODT-0.33 getting underneath ODT-Zero as it pushed Elevation and S.O.Xbot back. ODT-0.33 was then spun away by the Floor Spinner a few more times, before ODT-Zero nearly pushed S.O.Xbot into the pit. Elevation, in turn, teamed up with S.O.Xbot to try and pit ODT-Zero, with ODT-0.33 getting underneath the latter in an attempt to help the other two parts of √3². In doing so, Elevation backed away, allowing ODT-Zero to reverse and push ODT-0.33 towards the pit, but ODT-0.33 swerved away and S.O.Xbot blocked ODT-Zero as it tried to back away. All three parts of √3² gathered round and lifted ODT-Zero again, before gradually steering, lifting and pushing it into Shunt, who axed ODT-Zero’s top armour. Mr. Psycho left his CPZ to surround all four robots, with both ODT-Zero and ODT-0.33 struggling to drive effectively. Meanwhile, Elevation appeared to have lost mobility altogether, and accidentally flipped S.O.Xbot over before Shunt and Mr. Psycho attacked it. S.O.Xbot attempted to get underneath Mr. Psycho in response, but both √3² and ODT-Zero survived to a Jury's decision, which went in favour of √3².
- "Our first fight was a big disappointment. Don't get me wrong, V3 won, but the production put us up against Alex’s main robot as our opponent. I think that makes Alex the only roboteer ever to win and lose a fight at the same time! The cluster did a great job, way beyond our expectations, but I was sure we would lose our next fight."
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo
In the second round, √3² fought Belgian competitor Pika 3. Again, all three parts split up as soon as 'activate' was called, with Elevation wedging itself underneath the Floor Spinner as it and S.O.Xbot approached the sluggish Pika 3. Both were spun away as the Floor Spinner activated, before Pika 3 rammed into S.O.Xbot and pushed Elevation into an empty CPZ. Elevation escaped as ODT-0.33 and S.O.Xbot surrounded Pika 3, the latter struggling to drive away from the Flame Pit. S.O.Xbot was then pushed into the CPZ by Pika 3, and hesitated as Matilda reversed into it; her flywheel flung S.O.Xbot into a camera and out of the arena. With √3² reduced to two thirds, Elevation and ODT-0.33 pinned Pika 3 against the wall, before Pika 3 wedged itself underneath an angle grinder. This allowed ODT-0.33 to get underneath Pika 3 before Refbot freed it, with both ODT-0.33 and Elevation again surrounding and nudging Pika 3 as it kept struggling to drive properly and drove up Refbot's front plough. Elevation steered Pika 3 towards Growler's CPZ before Pika 3 pushed it back across the arena again into Matilda. Again, Elevation escaped, while ODT-0.33 slammed into Pika 3's side, knocking Pika 3's lifter out of alignment as it steered the latter towards the wall. Elevation then rammed and lifted Pika 3, only to be pushed back, before ODT-0.33 finished the battle by getting underneath and pinning Pika 3 against an entry gate until 'cease' was called. As before, the battle went to a Jury's decision, which despite it losing one of its clusterbots, went in favour of √3². The team immediately celebrated their victory by hugging each other and jumping around in the central pod.
- "She took the wheel and motor straight off my poor 30KG robot. The body hit the camera and flew out of the arena! There was a small imprint on the arena polycarb where the wheel had hit it. I clearly remember seeing my robot sat outside of the arena and testing to see if the one wheel that was attached was still driving, and it was! I remember turning enthusiastically to tell WJ and Alex about it but they still had a fight to finish! In the end it went to the judges and they gave us the win! This was the first time a robot had won with one part of it outside the arena! Maybe it’s still the only time this has happened?"
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo on S.O.Xbot being thrown out of the arena
The Heat Final saw √3² face PulverizeR for a place in the Grand Final. As Matilda had caused significant damage to S.O.Xbot, the only realisable way to repair the robot and enter it in the arena was to borrow the wheels motors from the already-eliminated ODT-Zero, and use them within S.O.Xbot. This pushed √3² over the weight limit for heavyweight robots, and √3² weighed roughly 110kg in the battle. Aware of the rules, the team consulted Mischa de Graaf about this, to see whether he was willing to fight the overweight √3 in the Heat Final, which Mischa de Graaf accepted. However, another roboteer overheard the weight issues concerning √3² and reported this to the technical staff, who forced √3² to be weighed ahead of the heat final. However, a sporting crewmember was able to manipulate the results so that √3² would display as weighing 100kg, despite actually weighing roughly 110kg, so that it could participate in the Heat Final.
- "In the interest of fairness, we discussed it with Mischa of team PCP who was our next opponent with his robot Pulverizer. We explained that it was not driving any better than before and it was all held in place with sticky tape and cable ties. He was fine with it being overweight and preferred to give a good show than to have us drop out. However, there was a certain roboteer around who was no longer in the competition who was complaining to the technical staff that we would be overweight, which was against the rules. So they made us do another weigh-in of the 3 parts together. We were sure it would never pass. The robots were placed on the big car scales and it seemed to take forever for the digits on the display to settle down and show a figure. By some miracle we were dead on 100kg! Actually, to tell the truth, we were not 100kg. We were probably about 10kg overweight but it was a TV show designed to entertain and it was clear we only had a tiny chance of winning the next fight anyway, so someone from the crew ‘accidentally’ put his foot under the scale to help the measurement a little. Whoops!"
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo
The three robots separated as PulverizeR approached, with ODT-0.33 and S.O.Xbot attempting to pin PulverizeR while sustaining hits from the latter's flywheel. Elevation and PulverizeR then pushed each other as the four robots came together, with S.O.Xbot being turned onto its back as both it and ODT-0.33 drove up against PulverizeR's front and side. All three thirds of √3² chased PulverizeR across the arena, with Elevation pushing it again before almost being knocked onto its side by PulverizeR's flywheel. Seconds later, PulverizeR threw ODT-0.33 over, before hitting S.O.Xbot, which pressed the pit release button while ODT-0.33 and Elevation got underneath PulverizeR in an attempt to lift it. S.O.Xbot returned to push PulverizeR into Elevation, but PulverizeR's flywheel flipped Elevation over in the process, and S.O.Xbot turned itself over as well before pushing the inverted Elevation around. Meanwhile, ODT-0.33 tried to push PulverizeR from behind, but it and Elevation were thrown within seconds of each other by PulverizeR, with Elevation being re-righted as a result. Again, ODT-0.33 and S.O.Xbot surrounded and got their wedges underneath PulverizeR, lifting it onto one wheel, but PulverizeR landed back onto both wheels as Elevation tried to assist ODT-0.33, tearing into S.O.Xbot's rear panel and ripping one of its wheels off. Elevation and S.O.Xbot were then flipped across the arena by PulverizeR, with Elevation unable to self-right and S.O.Xbot spinning around on its remaining wheel. As two-thirds of √3² were now immobilised, Refbot counted the whole robot out, before PulverizeR flipped ODT-0.33 again. Elevation was hammered and sliced by Mr. Psycho and Dead Metal respectively before 'cease' was called, and √3² was eliminated from the second series of Dutch Robot Wars as a result.
- "The fight against Pulverizer was great. We got hit in the face, had him in a pinch at one point but then most of our robots stopped working. Pulverizer went on to win Dutch Robot Wars 2!"
- — Jeroen van Lieverloo
|√3² - RESULTS|
|Heat E, Round 1||vs. ODT-Zero||Won|
|Heat E, Semi-Final||vs. Pika 3||Won|
|Heat E, Final||vs. PulverizeR||Lost|
- Wins: 2
- Losses: 1
|Dutch Series||√3 Series Record|
|Series 1||Entered with Project One (WJ Dijkstra)|
Entered with X-Bot (Jeroen van Lieverloo)
|Series 2||Heat Final|
Entered with Gravity (WJ Dijkstra)
Entered with Impact (Jeroen van Lieverloo)
Entered with ODT-Zero (Alexander Russchen)
|Series||√3² Series Record|
|The First Wars||Did not enter|
|The Second Wars||Did not enter|
|The Third Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fourth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Fifth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Sixth Wars||Did not enter|
|The Seventh Wars||Entered with Gravity|
Withdrew from qualifiers with Impact 2 (Jeroen van Lieverloo)
|Series 8||Not selected with Gravity|
Entered with Tough as Nails (Jeroen van Lieverloo)
|Series 9||Entered with Cobra (Jeroen van Lieverloo)|
Not selected with Tough as Nails (Jeroen van Lieverloo)
|Series 10||World Series with THE BASH (Jeroen van Lieverloo)|
Outside Robot Wars
Before competing on TV, the individual sections of √3² competed separately at a Dutch live event in Marienheem, to test their functionality in June 2002. At the event, various sections of √3² would end up battling each other, alongside other robots such as The Lethal Swan and Alien Destructor, and even Pika 3, one of the robots √3² fought on television.
The team conceptualised a second version of √3² which was to consist of three identical machines, all armed with full-pressure flipping arms. Various parts were ordered for the machine, but the project was cancelled when the team became aware that there would not be a third Dutch series of Robot Wars.
Elevation continued to compete at Roaming Robots in the featherweight division, before becoming a parts donor for other robots. The pneumatics from it alongside other internals from S.O.Xbot were sold separately in 2011 and have been built into featherweights that competed on the UK live events circuit, such as Stealth and Skyfall. ODT-0.33 was later modified into ODT-0.44, and enjoyed success as a middleweight for demonstration battles. WJ Dijkstra still owns the chassis for Elevation to this day.
- √3² was the only clusterbot on Robot Wars to record more wins than losses.
- As one part of √3² was flipped out of the arena by Matilda, √3² is the only robot to be flipped out of the arena in any main domestic competition and not be eliminated from the competition in the same battle.
- √3² was the first Robot Wars clusterbot to consist of individual robots with completely different designs. However, all three robots remained roughly the same weight as each other.
- As √3² weighed 110kg in its Heat Final, √3² was the first robot to boast this weight, which became the standard heavyweight limit for the duration of the Robot Wars reboot.