Rex Garrod

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Rex Garrod was an inventor and roboteer, notable for building the radio controlled car which starred in Brum and co-presenting The Secret Life of Machines . He also entered several successful robots into the early series of British TV series Robot Wars . [1] [2] [3] [4]

<i>Brum</i> (TV series) British childrens television series

Brum is a British children's television series about the adventures of a small, artificially intelligent, self-driven car.

<i>The Secret Life of Machines</i> television series

The Secret Life of Machines is an educational television series presented by Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod, in which the two explain the inner workings and history of common household and office machinery. According to Hunkin, the show's creator, the programme was developed from his comic strip The Rudiments of Wisdom, which he researched and drew for the Observer newspaper over a period of 14 years. Three separate groupings of the broadcast were produced and originally shown between 1988 and 1993 on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, with the production subsequently airing on The Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel.

<i>Robot Wars</i> (TV series) television series

Robot Wars is a robot combat competition that was broadcast on British television from 1998 to 2004 and again from 2016 to 2018. The series, centred on the sport of robot combat, involves teams of amateur and professional roboteers operating their own constructed remote controlled robots to fight against each other, whilst also avoiding arena hazards and more powerful "House Robots", which were not bound by the same weight or weapon limits as the contestants. Earlier series included assault and trial courses for competing robots before they were ceased from the first "Extreme" series onwards.


Garrod (left) with Tim Hunkin Secret-life-of-sticky-tape-and-rust.jpg
Garrod (left) with Tim Hunkin

Rex died in April 2019 at the age of 75. [5]


Brum was a British television series which ran intermittently between 1991 and 2002. It told the story of a small car called Brum, which in reality was a giant remote control car. Garrod is credited with both designing and building Brum.

Team Cassius

Garrod was Team Leader of Team Cassius, a team of roboteers which entered several robots into Series 1, 2 and 3 of Robot Wars .

In Series 1, Team Cassius entered "Recyclopse", which reached the Grand Final but lost to Roadblock.

Roadblock was a combat robot that competed on the British television series Robot Wars. Constructed in 1997 by A-level students from Bodmin Community College, the robot was initially called "Road Rage" but was renamed in response to a request from the programme's producers. Both names were derived from the robot's distinctive construction from metal roadsigns. Roadblock was champion of the first series of Robot Wars and finished in third place for the second series. Although Roadblock was armed with a circular saw weapon, its success was primarily due to its wedge-shaped body—Roadblock could drive underneath opponent robots and invert them, rendering many immobile.

In Series 2, Team Cassius entered "Cassius", a wedge-shaped robot armed with a front-pivoted flipper. Cassius was the first competitor in the show's history to "self right" (i.e. to turn itself over when it was upside down), and as such Garrod is often credited with inventing the so-called "srimech". Cassius also reached the Grand Final, but lost to Panic Attack.

Panic Attack was a robot that competed in the British television show Robot Wars. In Series 2, it was just a box, with a set of electrically powered lifting forks, powered by a homemade system. It was emblazoned with the image of a spider. The spider was the result of a school competition to come up with a design of something that made you panic. A 12-year-old girl designed the spider. With his prize money from Series 2, Kim built a newer machine. This one had a srimech, a new body shape, and more effective forks, which were capable of completely overturning opposing machines. The top-mounted self-righting mechanism proved to be unreliable, and was eventually removed. Added in Series 4 were a set of side "skirts" to prevent all but the lowest of robots from getting underneath it, as well as sloping sides. The fourth model had improved skirts, and the srimech was updated to a top flipper, which was the favourite with the driver Kim Davies, who stated it was, in his opinion, the best version.

In Series 3, Team Cassius entered "Cassius 2", a similar robot to its predecessor "Cassius", which lost in the 2nd round.

The Secret Life of Machines

Rex Garrod co-presented The Secret Life of Machines with Tim Hunkin.

Tim Hunkin British engineer

Tim Hunkin is an English engineer, cartoonist, writer, and artist living in Suffolk, England. He is best known for creating the Channel Four television series The Secret Life of Machines, in which he explains the workings and history of various household devices. He has also created museum exhibits for institutions across the UK, and designed numerous public engineering works, chiefly for entertainment. Hunkin's works are distinctive, often recognisable by his unique style of papier-mâché sculpture, his pen and ink cartoons, and his offbeat sense of humour.

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Hypno-Disc was a contestant entry in the Robot Wars TV series, and was one of the first robots to use the kinetic flywheel weapon — a highly damaging weapon that succeeded in heavily damaging and destroying great many robots. Hypno-Disc's design, however, was somewhat basic, and its high ground clearance made it an easy target for robots armed with flipping weapons, such as Chaos 2. Hypno-Disc was the creation of the Rose family — twin brothers Derek and David, and their father Ken. It was the first competitor robot recreated in toy form when the Robot Wars pullback toys were released.

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  2. "Inventive youngsters find winning formula". WalesOnline . Cardiff. January 8, 2009. Retrieved March 4, 2012.
  3. Fowler, P. J. (1992). The past in contemporary society: then, now. Psychology Press. p. 56. ISBN   978-0-415-07130-7. OCLC   27681858.
  4. Brad, Stone (2003). Gearheads: the turbulent rise of robotic sports. Simon and Schuster. p. 169. ISBN   978-0-7432-2951-7. OCLC   51009163.
  5. Robot Wars legend Rex Garrod dies at 75 after long illness with Alzheimer's