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Hebocon's sumo-wrestling robots

The convention celebrating the technically ungifted comes to Atlanta

Image Maybe we haven't perfected the science behind hover boards and flying cars, but at least we have sumo-wrestling competitions between badly built robots. This is the future Hebocons around the world have built, and it's finally coming to Atlanta.



Hebocon, which first took place in Tokyo in 2014, is a robot wrestling competition founded for those less technically gifted than the average engineer. The name Hebocon derives from the Japanese word "heboi," which describes something "technically poor" or "low in quality." Robots in Hebocons are encouraged to be simple and low-tech through its "high-tech penalty.?۝

The First Atlanta Hebocon has been organized by those at Mammal Gallery, who were drawn to the concept of Hebocon for its celebration of creativity and imperfection.

"We think celebrating Heboi'-ness is important in a world that generally looks for perfection," says Mammal Gallery co-owner Chris Yonker. "There is beauty in simplicity and Heboi'ness. This isn't an event that requires you to have any prior knowledge of robotics. You can literally tape a Barbie doll to an electric toothbrush as your entry.?۝

The competition certainly seems to value creativity over the rigidity of engineering. Daiju Ishikawa, the founder and organizer of the first Hebocon held in Tokyo, writes that, "Hebocon is not engineering; it is literature.?۝ Likewise, Yonker says, "Engineering is ridged and aims for efficiency in design. It has many rules. Literature is much looser. There is no right or wrong."

This is why Mammal Gallery invites anyone and everyone to participate in its first Hebocon. All robots, as long as they remain low-tech, are welcome. Though competitors may build their robots before the convention, Hebocon will open its doors at 5 p.m. for those who wish to build their robots on site. The first 32 robots submitted will enter the sumo-wrestling competition, which will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Whether you're interested in engineering, art or something in between, Hebocon promises to entertain. As Yonker asks us, "Who doesn't want to see crappy robots fight one another??۝

Free. 5 p.m. Fri., June 30. Mammal Gallery, 91 Broad St. S.W. 678-744-7095. www.mammalgallery.com.




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