By Steve Crowe 

MassRobotics announced the Form & Function Robotics Challenge with a grand prize of $25,000, along with $5,000 prizes for second and third place and a $5,000 Audience Choice award. The finals of the competition will be held May 11 at the Robotics Summit & Expo in Boston.

The challenge calls for university teams or individuals to create a robotics or automation project that delivers a compelling form factor specific to its tasks while accomplishing a useful function. The challenge is open to participants from around the globe, and 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 selected applicants 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

Judges will score on a number of factors and criteria including:

  • Does this inspire?
  • Does this impress?
  • Originality
  • Use of partner technology
  • Problem-solving
  • Impact
  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Overall execution

Applications to participate in the challenge open on December 12, 2022 and close on February 3, 2023. An informational webinar will be held on December 14, 2022. Find further details and apply here.

Selected teams will be announced on February 10, 2023. Once teams are selected, they 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 on May 10 and will be awarded on May 11.

“PTC is proud to provide free EDU accounts on Onshape ®, its cloud-native product development platform, to students and makers for the MassRobotics Form and Function Challenge,” said Jordan Cox, SVP of PTC Education. “With Onshape, participants can leverage industry standard product design and development tools, accessible from any device, anywhere, anytime.”

“Thanks to this challenge organized by MassRobotics, Lattice Semiconductor is excited to provide FPGA technology and machine vision cameras to be used in potential products of the future developed by creative students around the world.” – Kevin Tzitzon, senior director of sales at Lattice Semiconductor

“We are thrilled to support the Form and Function challenge. MassRobotics’ design challenges provide an opportunity for Analog Devices and other partner companies to learn about how our technology can be adopted in robotics and automation. Student teams get an opportunity to learn about Analog Devices as a company, as a potential future employer or as a potential future supplier,” Natalie Brown, Analog Devices.

“This is an opportunity to show the world how you can create a unique, cutting-edge project that solves a challenge with robotics and automation, while also looking spectacular,” said Russell Nickerson of MassRobotics. “It’s a chance for academic teams and innovators to showcase new technologies, and how software and hardware from MassRobotics’ partners can further advance these technologies.”