MassRobotics announced the teams participating in its inaugural Form & Function Robotics Challenge. The finalists will be showcasing their robots on May 10-11 at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston. The winners will be announced on May 11 at 12:30 PM at the event.

The challenge calls for teams to create a robotics or automation project that delivers a compelling form factor specific to its tasks while accomplishing a useful function. The following universities will be participating:

  • Brown University
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Kwame Nkrumah Science and Technology
  • MIT
  • Northeastern University
  • Seoul National University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Tufts University
  • University of Bath
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

“We received entries for the Form and Function Challenge from around the world,” said MassRobotics executive director Tom Ryden. “We are excited about the selected teams, their robot concepts and the ways they are planning to incorporate many of our partners’ offerings, from development kits to sensors to software. We look forward to the teams showcasing their robotic solutions at the Robotics Summit & Expo in May.”

The challenge encourages cross-collaboration between state-of-the-art software and hardware providers, including MassRobotics strategic partners Onshape, Lattice Semiconductor, Nano Dimension, Danfoss, FESTO, Novanta, and Analog Devices. The challenge requires teams to use the offerings from a minimum of two of the seven partners. Examples of the offerings available to participants include:

Lattice Semiconductor: FPGA technology with their solution stack for a machine vision camera
Onshape: cloud-native CAD platform
Nano Dimension: 3D printed circuit boards and design review
FESTO: vacuum gripper kit and Electrical Actuators
Novanta: drives, inductive position encoders, RFID
Danfoss: remote control and PLUS+1 controllers

Participating teams will be provided technical support in the form of software, hardware, expertise and regular check-ins with the challenge’s sponsoring partners. Teams have until May 5, 2023 to develop and complete their projects and will have the opportunity to present their work at the Robotics Summit & Expo.

The challenge offers a grand prize of $25,000, along with $5,000 prizes for second and third place and a $5,000 Audience Choice award.

The Robotics Summit & Expo is the premier event for commercial robotics developers. There will be nearly 70 industry-leading speakers sharing their development expertise on stage during the conference, with 150-plus exhibitors on the show floor showcasing their latest enabling technologies, products and services that help develop commercial robots. There also will be a career fair, networking opportunities and more. Register for full conference passes by March 9 to save $300. Expo-only passes are just $75. Academic discounts are available and academic full conference rates are just $295.


Steve Crowe

Steve Crowe is Editorial Director, Robotics, WTWH Media, and co-chair of the Robotics Summit & Expo. He joined WTWH Media in January 2018 after spending four-plus years as Managing Editor of Robotics Trends Media. He can be reached at