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STMicroelectronics teams up with REV Robotics’ battlebot

Semiconductor company STMicroelectronics is contributing multiple STM32 microcontrollers (MCUs) to REV Robotics’ “Switchback” battlebot.

The 250-pound battlebot, which uses a dual-motor drum spinner mounted on a fully-ambidextrous arm, is designed for durability and serviceability – as well as to win robot battles by hitting opponent robots really, really hard, and breaking them apart with the drum spinner.

The Switchback battlebot, premiering in battle on the Discovery Channel on January 6th, 2022 and on display in ST’s private suite at CES 2022, uses five heavy-duty electronic speed controllers with open-source firmware, implemented with STM32 MCUs.

REV Robotics chose the controllers for their durability and REV’s familiarity with the ST microcontrollers inside, which helps the team make firmware changes to the MCUs quickly. On Switchback, the motors operate the left-side and right-side drivetrain, the ambidextrous arm, and the arm-mounted weapons.

Launched by two friends with a passion for robots, REV Robotics learned its familiarity with the STM32 in designing, building, and manufacturing robotics parts and components for students to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), where the STM32 is a foundational component.

Beyond its use of the STM32 MCUs in its battlebot, REV is using a range of ST sensors, motor drivers, and protection devices in its product kits.

Greg Needel, president and co-founder, REV Robotics, says: “The latest in a line of take-no-prisoners battlebots, Switchback builds on our long interest in robots and our experience in these entertaining – but serious – competitions to encourage the next generation of engineers, who can also use our parts and kits to develop the same passion and excitement for robotics that we have.

“We started using the STM32 MCUs and other ST components in our products and our battlebots because of the breadth of the ST portfolio and the strength of the ecosystem.”

Loris Valenti, Americas region VP microcontroller and digital products, STMicroelectronics, says: “Robotics, and the Industrial Market, are key markets for ST, and our 10-year longevity assurance is a key differentiator – even if it might not be necessary for battlebots.

“For us, even more exciting than watching REV Robotics and Switchback take on the latest and toughest battlebot competitors is the excitement and joy of seeing students develop and build their own robots, knowing that many of them may start or work at the next generation of robotics and industrial companies.

“With the popularity of the STM32 and its extensive and powerful ecosystem, we love inspiring developers as they attack the full range of their design challenges by releasing their creativity.”

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