I ♥ Robots: Engineering Design Challenge

Robot logoDeadline: Monday, Feb. 26, 2018

Calling all 5th through 12th grade students!

How many times have you come across a problem in your life that could be solved with the help of a robot? What about a problem in society? Do you think you can design a robot that can solve a real-world problem? Well, now is your chance! The Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) wants to know how you would design a robot that can solve a problem that is important to you. It is not necessary that you actually build the robot; it’s only necessary that you explain the engineering design process that you would follow. If you think you can meet this engineering design challenge, enter I ♥ Robots today! Twelve prizes will be awarded—six for the 5th through 8th grade category and six for the 9th through 12th grade category.

Prizes for 5th through 8th grade winners:

  • First place: Personal Robot AND Wonder Workshop Dash Robot (plus accessories)
  • Four runners-up: Wonder Workshop Dash Robot (plus accessories)
  • Judge’s choice: One set of Cubelets

Prizes for 9th through 12th grade winners:

  • First place: Personal Robot AND Wonder Workshop Cue Robot (plus accessories)
  • Four runners-up: Wonder Workshop Cue Robot (plus accessories)
  • Judge’s choice: One set of Cubelets

Examples of robots:

  • A robot that would fold your clothes
  • A robot that brings drinking water into the desert
  • A robot that can feed your dog


  • You must be 10 years old or older to enter.
  • Do not include your last name on your presentation—just first name and state. You can put your personal information on the submission form, but for your privacy when we upload, we will need your presentation without personal identification.
  • Projects will be sorted based on grade level. Students in grades 5-8 will be placed in one category and projects of students in grades 9-12 will be placed in another.
  • Projects will be graded based on a rubric.
  • The judge’s choice winner will be chosen from those who did not win the grand prize or runners-up prizes.
  • Winners will be announced mid-March.

How to enter:

To enter the contest, complete the submission form and attach your file. Make sure you include a parent's or guardian's contact information so we can obtain permission to post your file on our website. The deadline to submit is 8 p.m. EST on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018.

Still unsure about what we are asking? Here are some steps to help you complete the competition:

  1. Review the engineering design process: Refer back to this website when you get stuck.
  2. Define the problem: Identify a problem in your life or in the world that a robot could help solve. Write down what the problem is, who the problem affects, and why you want this problem solved.
  3. Do background research: Research what has already been done about the problem. Then put what you have found into your own words. Use this research to help you make a better decision about how you will design your robot. For example, have any robots already been made to solve the problem? If so, how can you improve that robot? Make sure you cite your sources.
  4. Specify requirements: Think about the specific characteristics of the robot you want to build. Ask yourself: What do you want your robot look like? Why? Will your robot move? How? What materials do you want your robot to be made of? Why? How much do you think it will cost to build your robot? How will you get the money to build the robot?
  5. Brainstorm, evaluate and choose solution: Look at the requirements you wrote down in step 4 and narrow down the best robot characteristics.
  6. Develop and prototype solution: Design and build the robot prototype based on your research. Note: you are not required to build the robot. Instead, you can draw pictures, make an animated robot on a computer, or describe the robot prototype in words.
  7. Test solution: In this step, explain what problems you think you will run into. Explain what you think will go well. Ask others if they think your robot will solve your problem.
  8. Communicate results: This means take steps 2-7 and put that information into a presentation. This presentation can be in the form of a video, an animation, a PowerPoint, a short movie, a picture slideshow, etc. Be creative and try a presentation method you’ve never done before! We love to see your most impressive technology skills displayed in your presentation!
  9. Enter the competition: Complete the form and submit your presentation!

Previous contests

November 2017: All I want for Christmas is a Drone!

In our November contest, students were encouraged to get creative for a chance to win a Flip Flop stunt drone! Participants in the contest entered by describing a science topic and used technology to present their ideas.

Congratulations to our grand-prize and runner-up winners!

John from Tennessee: Drone Laws

Daniel from Maryland: Airfoil Technology

Evelyn from Maryland: Drones and GPS

Gabe from Tennessee: Drone Project

Kayden from Maryland: Vessel Watch

Jacob from Kansas: How Drones Move

Omar from Tennessee: Aerodynamics of a Flying Drone

William from Kansas: Gyroscopes in Drones

Calvin from Tennessee: Parts of a Drone and How it Works