NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–A non-profit city-based community organization formed in 2009 to bring makers, hackers, and tinkerers together to share ideas and knowledge, is hosting a robot-building contest.

Fair Use Building and Research (FUBAR) Labs’ “Fubacon 2016” will take place on Sunday, October 23 at FUBAR Labs, 100 Jersey Avenue, Suite B-103.

Based on Japan’s Hebocon competition, Fubacon 2016 is a robot sumo event in which two individually designed and built robots battle one another in a 40-inch by 20-inch “arena.”

Each robot will try to push its opponent out of the small, raised arena, which is is less than one inch thick and made of plywood.  The one that stays the longest wins and moves on to another round in the single-elimination tournament.

The goal is to build a fun robot rather than an incredible feat of engineering.  Tournaments will be held in two categories: Primitive Class and Low Tech Class.

Entrants into Primitive Class, who build their robots at Fubar Labs, are required to design a robot that moves on its own without human control.

Meanwhile, hose entering the Low Tech Class are expected to modify existing toys or electronics to create remotely-controlled robots.

The robot building session is scheduled for 1 PM, and competition begins at 3:30 PM.

According to contest rules, the Emcee will be given the discretion to impose handicaps and obstacles on robots with technically-advanced designs.

The fun nature of the contest is highlighted by instructions stating that if both robots are still in the arena after a minute, the referee is permitted to declare a winner “logically or illogically. Candy bribes worth less than $3 are encouraged but will not guarantee a win.”

First-place winners in each category will pick a number from a hat to choose a “maker-kit” prize.  They will then compete with each other for the Fubacon Grand Champion title and another “maker-kit,” with the Low Tech winner blindfolded during the battle.

Robots must be no bigger than 15 inches wide by eight inches long and must not weigh any more than two pounds.

Robots that simultaneously stop moving will endure a 10-second count before being hit with wet noodles and restarted.

Contestants may not spend more than $30 in building their robots.  The entry fee is $20 per robot.

More information can be found at the Fubar Labs website.

Laurel Kornfeld is a freelance writer with a BA in journalism from Rutgers University. She lives in Highland Park, NJ, where she was elected as a Democratic Municipal Committee representative for the 10th district in 2023.