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"Peter Reynolds has built a Kit Car before, this looks like a Kit cart, but the two 12-inch hardened front chisels and 9-inch cutting disc, powered by two electric car window motors, could make ORAC more than a bit-part player!"
Jonathan Pearce introduces ORAC

ORAC was a box shaped robot that competed in Series 2 of Robot Wars. It reached the Arena Stage of its heat, but was "pepper potted" and burned on the Flame Pit by Killertron, who went on to reach the Grand Final.

The team returned for Series 3 with Orac's Revenge.

Design[]

"The 9" angle grinder on the back or ORAC looked good. ORAC apparently cost 400 pounds over 5 months only to be left on the flame pit for everything to be ruined! Also as fire protection numerous Sun mouse mats were placed around Orac."
Oliver Steeples on ORAC[1]

Front view of ORAC

ORAC was a yellow box-shaped robot, with huge wheels. Costing £400 and built over five months, it featured wheelchair technology, including a total of four wheelchair-style casters, and was powered by two car window motors, although the chains driving its large wheels became slack very easily. Its weapon was a 9' circular saw on the end of an arm, and two hardened steel front lifting chisels. ORAC was quick for its time at 10mph, but had a high ground clearance, and was relatively light at 55.5kg.

"ORAC the robot used wheelchair motors to power big bicycle wheels, however the chains in-between were not adjusted so that when they slackened they fell off. Simple really."
— Oliver Steeples on a key flaw of ORAC[2]

Etymology[]

The name ORAC comes from the computer in the TV show Blake's 7, a show which Technical Consultant and Judge Mat Irvine worked on as a visual effects designer.

Robot History[]

Series 2[]

ORAC completes the Gauntlet

ORAC began in the Gauntlet by going up the ramp. It avoided Shunt and completed the course very quickly. No other robot completed the Gauntlet within that heat, and ORAC progressed in first place.

Matilda drops ORAC over the edge

ORAC's Trial was King of the Castle, in which it faced Matilda and Shunt. Shunt drove off the ramp by mistake after 6 seconds. Meanwhile, Matilda picked up ORAC and span around with it, and eventually dropped it off after 28.93 seconds. This was enough to keep ORAC in because Schumey only lasted 9.40 seconds.

ORAC is burnt over the flame pit

In the arena semi-final, ORAC faced Killertron. The fourth seed began by missing the yellow machine with its axe several times. ORAC was then hit with an arena spike, and became immobilised. Killertron proceeded to punch holes into it, and it was left smoking on the flame pit.

"Char-broiled ORAC..."
— Jonathan Pearce as ORAC is burnt over the flame pit.

ORAC's ordeal was not yet over, however. It would not be until five minutes after the end of the fight that the Arena would be deemed safe to enter. During this time period, the flame pit remained operational, notably causing ORAC's tyres to catch fire during the post-battle interviews. By the time ORAC was finally extinguished, its tyres, receiver, speed controllers, wiring and heat sinks were completely destroyed.

"ORAC was immobile and we were pushed over one of the flame throwers in the floor. When the round ended, it was a good five minutes before the arena was made safe. The WHOLE of that time ORAC was left over the flame thrower, as I was talking to Craig Charles the tyres caught fire and I ran down to the arena. They wouldn't let me on saying "Oh dear its not a pretty site" When they finally extinguished the flames, ORAC was so hot they couldn't move it, the tyres were burnt away, the receiver was melted, the speed controllers were fried, the wiring was a molten ball of goo and the Aluminium heatsinks had melted !!. This damaged all occurred AFTER the round had ended."
— Peter Reynolds in an Alt Robot Wars post[3]

Results[]

ORAC - RESULTS
Series 2
The Second Wars - UK Championship
Heat Semi-Final
Heat E, Gauntlet Completed (1st) Qualified
Heat E, Trial (Sumo) 28.95 seconds (4th) Qualified
Heat E, Semi-Final vs. Killertron (4) Lost

Wins/Losses[]

  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 1

NOTE: ORAC's successful Gauntlet and Trial runs are not included

Series Record[]

Series ORAC Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Heat, Arena Semi-Final
The Third Wars Entered with Orac's Revenge
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify with Orac's Revenge
The Fifth Wars Did not enter
The Sixth Wars Did not enter
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Did not enter
Series 10 Did not enter

Outside Robot Wars[]

ORAC disassembled at the end of its Series 2 campaign

In 2016, the team stated that they would have liked to be part of the new series, but would be unlikely to build a robot in time. They still own both versions of ORAC.

"I received an email to my robot website about the new series from Mentorn today. Had a look at Orac and Orac's Revenge sitting in the garage, looking in a very poor state. Will probably have to make something new, but 2 months is a very tight timescale, not sure if I could build anything presentable."
— Peter Reynolds on the FRA forum

Trivia[]

"We are designing a small autonomous submersible craft to cross the Atlantic ocean and return using only renewable energy. We have 4 engineers/scientists working on the project so far and we estimate it will be a 2 year project. Basically we are going to chuck it off Brighton pier and it will page us 7 months later when it gets back!!"
— The Oracles on their autonomous submersible[4]
  • After Series 4, the team built a autonomous submarine powered by renewable energy.
  • ORAC is one of two competitor robots who appear in The Sopranos episode Mergers and Acquisitions; the other is Elvis, who appeared in the previous heat of Series 2. The viewers can also catch a glimpse of Sergeant Bash and Matilda.

References[]

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