Robotics & Computer Science

Robotics icon for STEM Expo

The rules and information presented below are for STEM Expo 5 (March 7th 2015).

Rules and information for STEM Expo 6 (March 5th, 2016)
will be released on December 1st 2015.

Although there will be changes, the general concepts (and most of the details) of the rules will remain the same as the 2015 event. But be sure to get the current rules after they are released!


Category Description

A robot is a mechanical agent that can perform tasks automatically. Similarly
computer science is the design of software that can perform tasks. Computer
software and robots can both be operated automatically, semi-autonomous, or
​remotely controlled. Both are designed to be used for one or more specific purposes.

Pertinent Information and Definitions

Physical Design

Good physical design may refer to mechanical functionality and/or UI (User Interface).

  • Sensors and/or operator input is appropriate and understandable for the planned purpose(s)
  • Manipulators and/or displays are used as needed to accomplish the needed tasks
  • Physical or interface construction is appropriate and elegant

Operational Functionality

Several operability concepts are used to help define the capability of an entry.

  • Operational methods of the software or robot are complete and appropriate for the purpose
  • Design allows for variables in the operating environment and error handling
  • Operation is repeatable and consistent with the planned function

Display, Documentation, and Software

The project display should show the following and may include a paper with more information.

  • A working robot or sub-assembly or, if software, the working software should be presented
  • The function or purpose of the robot or software should be described
  • The description and clarification of any sub-components should be explained
  • A description of the methodology used to operate the robot or software may be included

Additional items that may be explained as part of the entry include:

  • Considerations for alternative operation based on variations in operating parameters
  • Documented code or design information
  • Efficiency of design (software code and /or mechanical design)

Entry, Review, and Judging

An entry in this category will be reviewed and judged on the following:

  • General requirements and judging points
  • Physical design and/or operational functionality
  • Software source code evaluation (if applicable) (note: this can be confidential if desired.)
  • Display and documentation provided

Additional items which will affect the review and judging conclusions

  • Entry relates to real-world applications
  • Robot or software and/or the associated purpose is original or innovative
  • Illustrations, images, or other media that is presented as supporting information


Please review the judging rubric for this category for other items that may be considered.