2016 High School Soft Robotics Design Competition


We want YOU to do something cool with soft robotics! Work with your team to design a novel device which incorporates some of the soft robotic components documented on the Soft Robotics Toolkit website. Example projects might include:

  • Wearable robotic systems to assist or augment human performance
  • Robots capable of manipulating delicate objects
  • Robots capable of novel forms of locomotion
  • Improved control systems for soft robotics
  • Improving an existing device by incorporating soft components

Your design may be entirely “soft,” or may combine traditional rigid robotic elements with soft components. The only limitations (besides your imagination) are that:

  1. The design must make use of at least one component technology from the Soft Robotics Toolkit website
  2. The design must be novel. You may not submit a project that was completed prior to the beginning of the competition.*

(*If you have previously completed a research project related to soft robotics, please see the 2016 Prize for Contributions in Soft Robotics.)


The best projects will be featured on the soft robotics toolkit website. In addition, there will be a grand prize awarded to the best team, as well as a few smaller prizes for runners up.

How to Enter

You must document your team's project using a provided "wiki". Competition entries will be judged based on the wiki pages only! Your team's wiki will remain private while the competition is in progress, but will be shared publicly after results have been announced. At a minimum, your team's wiki must include the following sections:

  1. A Background section describing the problem you are trying to solve, as well as a brief introduction of your team;
  2. A Design section describing your solution, its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the rationale for your design decisions;
  3. A Fabrication section documenting how you built your final prototype; and
  4. A Testing section that demonstrates the performance of your final prototype. This section should include high quality images and a 30-second infomercial-style video of your final prototype. 

Images and videos of you building your project and your project in action are strongly recommended!

Registration is now CLOSED! The deadline for registering for this year's competition has passed. Thank you and good luck to all the teams competing!

Important dates

  • January 2016: Registration opens.
  • February 2016: Registered teams' assigned project wikis released.
  • March 31st, 2016: Project title and description due.
  • June 30th, 2016: Team wikis are frozen. Teams will not be allowed to edit their wiki after this date.
  • August 2016: Winners are announced.

Scoring Rubric (50 points total)

  • Project Idea (20 points)
    • The need: has the team made a strong case that there is a need for their idea? Have they outlined the potential impact of their idea? (5 points)
    • Functional requirements: are the goals of the project clearly defined? Are the criteria for success provided? (5 points)
    • Quality: is the proposed solution interesting and novel? (10 points)
    • Project Implementation  (10 points) 
      • Prototype: did the team build a working prototype? Does the prototype meet the functional requirements set by the team? (10 points)
    • Project Documentation (20 points) 
      • Overall quality: Is the documentation well-written and easy to understand? (5 points)
      • Design: Does this section include an overview of the design as well as a discussion of its strengths, weaknesses, and potential modifications? (5 points) Example of a high scoring design section.
      • Fabrication: Does this section describe the procedure used to build the prototype? Does it include useful visual aids? (5 points) Example of a high scoring fabrication section.
      • Testing: Does the wiki include a demonstration of the working prototype? Does the wiki describe tests that were done to evaluate the design, and are the results of testing provided? (5 points) Example of a high scoring testing section

    (In the case of a tiebreak, the team with the highest "Project Documentation" score will win.)


    An international panel of expert judges will score each project using the rubric below. Details of the judging panel will be released over the coming months.