Computation & Robotics

Robotics & Computation Icon

Category Description

The Computation & Robotics category includes robotics, 
computer science and mathematical analysis or ideas.
This includes such applied sciences as engineering, 
programming, and mechanical design and such formal 
sciences as mathematics, logic, and statistics.
Be sure to read the general rules and requirements (available here) the full category description document (available here) which contains generic information applicable to all categories, and the rubric for the category (available here). 

Pertinent Information and Definitions

Computer science is the study of the principles and use of computers. Included in that is the design of software that performs tasks. Robotics often involves computer science but adds the design, and application of physical components that perform tasks. Entrants in this category design, build, and operate mechanical and/or software constructions.

Project Scope

Entries in this category will create all or part of a functional program or automated device.

When considering design elements, the focus is on the physical design (user interface) of the entry. Sensors and/or operator input must be appropriate and understandable for the planned purpose(s).  Manipulators and/or displays should be used as needed to accomplish the desired tasks. Physical or interface construction also should be appropriate and elegant.

Functionality is also a key part of this category. Operational methods of the software or robot should be complete and appropriate for the purpose. The design should allow for variables in the operating environment and error handling. Operation should be repeatable and consistent with the planned function.

Advanced entries will take alternate operation based on variations in operating parameters into consideration. They will also show an efficiency of design (whether software code or mechanical design).

Project Display and Description

The project display should show the following:

  • 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

The following items are also often included in the display:

  • A written document that defines the functional specification of the entry
  • Documented code listing

Entry, Review, and Judging

Judging will include an interview period and potential additional views of the project display. Judges will use an understanding of the category, this document, the rubric, and the general rules in their evaluations. Please review these documents for other items that may be considered.

What Will Be Judged

  • General display rules and judging criteria
  • Physical design and operational functionality
  • Software source code evaluation (if applicable) (note: this can be confidential if desired)
  • Display and documentation provided
  •  Comprehension, Completeness, Effort and Motivation of and by the entrant(s)

Additional Items that will affect the review and judging conclusions

  • The way the entry relates to real-world applications
  • Original or innovative design and implementation of the robot or software and/or the associated purpose
  • Illustrations, images, or other media that is presented as supporting information