HEBOCON Howto

As you know, we'll have an installment of HEBOCON at ThingsCon: A battle of DIY crappy robots.

Yes, that's right: If you try to win too hard, you should be ashamed of yourself. No high tech here!

Some background on HEBOCON

Hebocon is a robot sumo-wrestling competition for those who are not technically gifted. It is a competition where crappy robots that can just barely move gather and somehow manage to engage in odd, awkward battles. To my knowledge, this is the only robot contest in the world where people with no technical capabilities to make robots are presented prizes.

In July 19, 2014, the first Hebocon competition was organized and held by Hebocon Master Daiju Ishikawa in Tokyo, Japan.

The word Hebocon derives from the Japanese word Heboi. The Japanese adjective Heboi is used to describe something that is technically poor, or low in quality. The object of Hebocon is to enjoy Heboiness.
Why are some robots so Heboi? That is because their creators have Heboi technical abilities. A creator with low technical capabilities does not factor in their own incompetence. They are likely to think of an amazing robot with all sorts of cool features before they actually go about trying to build it. In time, they will realize that they do not have the ability to realize the super robot in their mind, and so they make the compromise to build a simple robot instead. However, they will not be able to build even the simple robot they thought of, and so they will make yet another compromise, and end up building what we talked about earlier: a Heboi robot.

Kindly hosted by our lovely friends Geraldine de Bastion and Nora Wohlfeil, HEBOCON @ ThingsCon will take place in the afternoon of ThingsCon day 2, that is on May 9th, to wrap things up. Yes, there will be cold drinks waiting for you. Details soon!

HEBOCON is a truly improvised event, kept together by love, spit & duct tape, and we will do our best to preserve this unique spirit.

So! How does this work?

Quite simple. You bring a robot to ThingsCon. (For inspiration, check out the video above.) If you don't have the time to prepare something at home, you can try to cobble something together at the conference, too: Between your own ingenuity and some of our lovely sponsors' goodies, you might just be able to build a Frankenmachine onsite. Just don't go too high tech!

Depending on how many robot fighters show up, we'll have more or fewer rounds of competition.

What should your robot look like?

Machine specifications
Please participate with a robot that satisfies all the conditions stated below.

  • It is technologically poor (please refer the paragraph on the high-tech penalty rule)
  • It is not equipped with a device that deliberately sets out to destroy opposing
    machines (such as a moving electric drill)
  • It is not over 50cm across, nor 50cm long (no restrictions on its height), and weighs
    no more than a kilogram.

High-tech penalty rule
In the case any of the following features on a robot have been achieved through the technical abilities of its creator, that creator is to be penalized* for demonstrating overly high technical capabilities.

  • Remote controls
  • Automatic controls (controls triggered by information sent by sensors of any kind, measurement of passed time, or measurement of travelled distance, etc.).
  • Anything else the judges may consider as being high-tech.

Any questions? Shoot me a line at peter (at) thewavingcat dot com, or through Twitter @thingscon!

Also, we'd like to thank Geraldine & Nora for helping us host Hebocon, and of course lovely & ingenius Hebocon Master Daiju Ishikawa!

  • The official rule book doesn't specify the penalty. We're thinking of a stern look.
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