The Annual Design and Research Competitions

We want YOU to do something cool with soft robotics! Whether you are a college student, high school student, designer, hobbyist, or researcher, we invite you to participate in our annual soft robotics design and research competitions! Work with your team to design a novel device which incorporates some of the soft robotic components documented on the Soft Robotics Toolkit website. The best projects submitted will be featured as contributions on our site and you could even win a prize!

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


Entry Categories

The design and research competitions are open to three categories of qualifications. To participate you must meet all requirements of the comepetition rules and submit an original design within the timeframe designated.

  • Research level: Researchers at the master and doctoral level are invited to submit original work to the Soft Robotics Toolkit website that has either been published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal or conference proceeding. Entries should showcase contributions in new soft robotics component technologies such as actuators, sensors, pumps, valves, control hardware, etc.
  • College level: The College Soft Robotics Design Competition is open to hobbyists, designers, and college students. Design, build and document an innovative project using tools from the Soft Robotics Toolkit website.
  • High school level: The High School Soft Robotics Design Competition is open to high school aged students, makers, and designers. Design something cool using some of the materials from the Soft Robotics Toolkit website and create a detailed documentation of your project. 


    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.


    See Entries from Previous Competitions

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    Contributions to the Toolkit

    Our site and the soft robotics community relies on contributions from designers, researchers, and students who share information, resources, and innovative work to add to our growing content of soft robotic components and projects. If you would like to contribute work to the site outside of the competition, please submit a short project description using the link below.