The coolest group of people on the face of this earth! They build enourmously complex robotic items then blow the hell out of each others' creations. They also do demonstrations such as (my favorite) Increasing the Latent Period in a System of Remote Destructibility. This particular dmonstration was a remote-controlled gun which could be aimed and shot via the internet.

i was once at the srl compound when the above machine was demo'ed. very ingeneous design! it used an s-shaped loader for the projectiles that seemed to have been salvaged from a soda machine, and fired beer cans filled with concrete that were cupped at one end to maximize the force of the commpressed air that was used as the propellent.

if i remember correctly, the control system and cameras (2 of them, it had stereoscopic vision!) was linked to an d/a converter and capture card, respectivly, on a linux box, which was in turn connected to a java app that did the video and control for the robot. the people controlling the robot that day were in germany. anyway, they had a bunch of random objects set up as targets and, when fired, the cannon would shoot the soda cans *through* the target, *through* the wooden (heavy) backdrop and hit metal objects behind in the junkyard

talk about tele presence!
SRL make Battlebots look like Little Mary Sunshine.

One of their devices is called The Hand O God. It is made of five telescoping tubes set into a perpendicular ridge of "knuckles" that supply power, all mounted on a wheeled chassis. When triggered, the "fingers" spring forward some short distance much like a kung fu finger strike, except that these fingers are four feet long and will crumple a car.

The soda-can cannon described above is the Pitching Machine. Another is the PulseJet, which uses propane? fuel through multiple barrels to create sonic shockwaves and puts out over 160 decibels. Have you ever been on a carrier deck or snuck onto the apron of an active runway? That's about 145 decibels...

I must respectfully disagree that SRL machines are "enormously complex". Some are, but others like the PulseJets and the Shockwave Cannon are fairly simple. I think it would be more accurate to say they are enormously loud.

The (predictable but) sad thing is how difficult SRL shows are to see. No municipality in its right mind will give them a permit, which is why they are usually seen only at home base, San Francisco, and in Northern Europe and Japan. On their website now:

The SRL Ultraviolence event planned for Phoenix is now indefinitely postponed. Work is continuing to locate a setting outside of the city of Phoenix. This show may still happen in the Phoenix area but the date is uncertain. SRL regrets any inconvenience this may have caused those hoping to see some real machine mayhem.

In addition to a refreshingly actualized love of blowing shit up, SRL seems to have a natural ability to Pick Titles Carefully for their events:

SRL Thoughtfully Regards: The Arbitrary Calculation of Pathological Amusements

The Unexpected Destruction of Elaborately Engineered Artifacts: A Misguided Adventure in Risk Eradication, Happening Without Known Cause, in Connection with Events that are Not Necessarily Related

1001 Inconsiderate Experiments Upon an Audience

A Calculated Forecast of Ultimate Doom: Sickening Episodes of Widespread Devastation Accompanied by Sensations of Pleasurable Excitement

Further Explorations in Lethal Experimentation

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