2018 High School Soft Robotics Design Competition



If you have an interest in soft robotics, we invite you to put your ideas to the test in our international Soft Robotics Design Competition!  Work within a team or on your own to design a novel device, incorporating at least one of the soft robotic components documented on the Soft Robotics Toolkit website. Example projects include:

  • Wearable robotic systems to assist human mobility
  • Robots able to manipulate delicate objects
  • Robots capable of novel forms of movement
  • 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 Prize for Contributions in Soft Robotics.)


Registration for the competition is now open! Upon completion of the registration form you will receive a confirmation email detailing the submission process using our site's wiki page. Check your spam folder if you don't see it in your inbox! 



The best projects will be featured as published additions to the Soft Robotics Toolkit website. In addition, a grand prize will awarded to the winning team, as well as awards for runners up.

Wiki Outline

Your entry is documented and submitted through a provided online "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. Following our site's formatting, at minimum, your team's wiki must include the following sections:

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

Photos and video of your project through development and into final prototype are strongly recommended! At  a minimum each page should include 2 photos/videos showing the various stages of your project’s development.

Important Milestones

  • January 2018: Registration is now OPEN!  Teams will be assigned project wikis after they are registered.
  • April 10, 2018: Project title and description due.
  • June 12, 2018: Team wikis are frozen. Teams will not be allowed to edit their wiki after this date.

After the close of the competition and wikis are frozen, our judges will begin deliberating winners for each category of the competition. Once judging concludes winners are announced through the site. 


The following guidelines should be used to guide the design and documentation process for each entry. Judges final deliberations for the winner will take into consideration the novelty of the project's idea, implementation of a prototype and the quality of documentation for each submission. 

  • Project Idea 
    • 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? 
    • Functional requirements: are the goals of the project clearly defined? Are the criteria for success provided? 
    • Quality: is the proposed solution interesting and novel? 
    • Project Implementation 
      • Prototype: did the team build a working prototype? Does the prototype meet the functional requirements set by the team? 

    • Project Documentation  
      • Overall quality: Is the documentation well-written and easy to understand? Are there sufficient photos/videos that support the documentation? 
      • Design: Does this section include an overview of the design as well as a discussion of its strengths, weaknesses, and potential modifications? 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? 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? Example of a high scoring testing section


    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.