The World’s Most Underwhelming Robots

When you think of a robotics competition you probably imagine an impressive display of cutting edge technology – a showcase of expensive robots glistening in the sun, displaying the capabilities of our current technology, and offering glimpses of the future. You need lots of hard work, ingenuity, copious amounts of research, and deep pockets to win a robotics competition. That is, unless you’re entering the Hebocon robot competition.

What is Hebocon?

IEEE Spectrum did a great job of unpacking all the fun and strangeness that is Hebocon. Essentially, Hebocon is a robot competition dedicated to poorly crafted robots. It’s a head-to-head tournament to see who can make the most underwhelming, embarrassing robots.

To understand the nature of the competition you must understand the name.  “Heboi” translates to “embarrassing, “poor in quality”, etc. The official rules for the competition state that all participants must lack, technical expertise, determination, and “the focus it takes to build an actual robot”.

Some of the robots featured in last year’s competition included a pole dancing robot with a cash spray special attack, and a robot that inches forward by means of bell-ringing propulsion.

Why build bad robots?

It might seem strange to have a competition that nobody wants to win and that showcases poorly made robots that may or may not actually function when it’s their time to shine. But for the people who participate in Hebocon, that’s exactly why the competition is so important.

Technology can be frustrating, especially if you’re pioneering new and uncharted areas. Hebocon is a reminder that failure is not just OK but a part a normal part of technology, and a necessary part of innovation.

A competition celebrating embarrassing robots also makes robotics fun and inviting. Robots are far less intimidating when you see a robot and think, “Oh, I could build that”. It encourages people to try new things, and demonstrates that the possibility of failure isn’t bad enough to prevent people from trying new things.

The organizer for Hebocon Spain said that the competition is a good way to introduce people to technology, and the organizer of Hebocon Athens says that the competition is about “making peace with failure”. If you’re afraid to try, you will never get anywhere.

Many of these crumby robots from Hebocon use servos to move around and unleash their special attacks. Indramat servos wouldn’t be appropriate for Hebocon, however. Indramat made some of the most sophisticated products for motion control systems in the world. Failure in Hebocon is essential, but failure in your factory isn’t an option. Call us today for any Indramat service or Indramat repair needs. We have charter flights available, so we can get to you as soon as possible. Call us today at 479-422-0390.