Building a robot is… pretty tough. Even one of the most advanced robots around, Atlas, is still just “a baby trying to learn”, prone to accidents and mistakes despite its brilliant and qualified creators. So what happens when you ask a bunch of unpracticed randos to build robots that can fight? You get a series of hilariously terrible, laughably stupid creations.
The organisers behind the contest, called Hebocon, describe it as “a robot contest for the technically ungifted”. The challenge was screened at the 18th Japan Media Arts Festival last week, but it took place earlier in the year when the organisers invited the first 31 participants to sign up a chance to build a robot fighter that would be pitted against the creations of other participants.
Basically, it’s Battlebots, minus the engineering training, expertise and any semblance of preparation:
Entrants will need compromise and surrender, instead of ideas and technical skill. But why 31 entrants? Your usual robot contest wold be about high-tech robots. But when the robots are crappy, unexpected problems arise. Some entrants can’t even complete their robots. Many just give up altogether, as they have absolutely no technical skill.
On her way to the venue, one entrant forgot her robot on the train. She gave up looking for the robot and send us a photo of her having a beer. The crowd praised this act of supreme crappiness. Many robots can’t even walk forward, and those that can often walk out of the ring. With crappy robots, it’s a challenge just to get a match started.
There’s really no words I can use to match droll hilarity of the insults tossed around in the video, so take a couple of minutes and watch it yourself. You’ll see robots that can’t move, robots that can barely stand up straight, robots that need a ramp to get going, and robots that are made out of dildos. Be sure to read the descriptions along with the names below. It’s both glorious and a little embarrassing. [YouTube; Prosthetic Knowledge]