Official Rules

Here you will find all of the relevant small print and other information to help you succeed in the competition.  Pay special attention to the due dates as late entries will not be accepted.  Additionally, scoring rubrics for the final reports and presentations have been provided so that you know how your project will be evaluated.


Any graduate or undergraduate registered as a full-time student through the spring of 2016 is eligible to participate.  Both individual and group projects are welcome.  An individual may participate in several entries provided each submission is on a different subject.


For this competition, a mechanism is defined as:

Any device that transmits a force or a motion to perform a mechanical task.  It may consist of rigid or deformable bodies connected with kinematic or flexural joints.  It may be constructed of any type of materials, including smart and other active materials.  It may be actuated by means of any transduction principle and employ any form of energy input.  The size of the device can range from the nano-scale to macro-scale.

For this competition, a robot is defined as:

An electro-mechanical system which, by its appearance or movements, conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own.  A robot should be able to do some or all of the following: move around, operate a mechanical linkage, sense and manipulate their environment, and exhibit intelligent behavior, such as behavior that mimics humans or other animals.  The size of a robot can range from the nano-scale to macro-scale.

Consult the FAQs or contact the competition coordinators if you have any questions about whether your mechanism/robot falls within the scope of this contest.


Please refer to the Submission Page for information on the required documents to submit and the submission process.


The letter of intent will not be evaluated.  It is required only to enable the organizing committee arrange for judging. The project reports will be evaluated by multiple judges chosen from both industry and academe. Guidelines for the Letter of Intent and the Report are on the Submissions page. Up to five finalists will be selected from each of the two divisions – undergraduate and graduate. Criteria for choosing the finalists will be based on the Final Report Scoring Rubric. Travel expenses to the conference will be the responsibility of the participant(s) or the faculty sponsor, although an effort will be made to allocate some money to help defray travel expenses.  See the Travel Funds page for more information. 

Rules for Judging the Finalists

There will be two aspects towards judging the finalists

1) Four-minute presentation: Each team will be allowed 2 MS Powerpoint slides and allotted approximately 4 minutes for their presentation.  Questions will not be taken immediately, but during a short Q&A session for all teams together.  

2) Poster session: This approximately an hour long, and is open to the judges and general audience. Tables will be provided for prototypes.  The participants are encouraged to show videos and demonstrate their mechanisms or robots. 


Award certificates and other prizes (TBA)  will be presented at the conference luncheon.  The prizes will be distributed among the winners in each division.  Attendance at the conference is required to receive a  prize.  Cash awards typically range from $100-$400 – with specific amounts subject to funds provided by industry sponsors.