SOFIC Robot Challenge

31 July 2020


For Frequently Asked Questions: Click Here to View


Purpose: USSOCOM, in conjunction with SOFWERX, is conducting a Robot Prize Challenge open to all High School and Middle School teams. This prize challenge will be done in two phases, with the total prize money of $40,000 awarded to the top 5 teams.

Event Overview:

Phase 1: Conceptual Design & Proposal Challenge: During Phase I, conceptual designs and proposals will be submitted to USSOCOM for review. Robot design & proposal will be judged by the following criteria:

  1. Robot can be either desktop or floor standing but must be able to reach 36-48” off the floor and be able to hand mug to the table visitor.
  2. Robot should be able to detect that a person is near or has entered an engagement area.
  3. Audible sounds like hello and thank you will add extra points to your design.
  4. The robot must be able to autonomously manipulate coffee mugs, to include pick up out of a box and handing to people visiting the SBIR booth.
  5. Robot will be able to retrieve a coffee mug from a storage box nearby.
  6. Robot appearance will be considered; to include neat wiring and elegant design, extras like lighting and sounds are encouraged.
  7. Proposal must include the following elements: robot design sketches, amount of hours required to build, amount of people on the team that will be helping, parts needed for design, lead time on major parts, what the anticipated schedule of building will be (both for the team weekly, and also for the overall project schedule), thoughts on what will be most difficult to accomplish, and how issues that arise will be mitigated to meet the deadlines. Proposal should include NO MORE than 3 pages, not including your sketches/designs.

At the conclusion of Phase I, o/a 13 March, the top 5 submissions from Phase 1 will be selected to receive up to $6,000 to build their robot.  Use of the Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) Fab Lab for build space and tool access will be made available.  Specifics on date and time will be announced at the start of Phase 2.

Phase 2: Robot Build Challenge: Those selected submissions from Phase I will use the awarded funding to build their robots. Robots will subsequently be judged by the following criteria (in priority order):

  1. Ability to hand a mug to new visitors to the booth and time it takes to do so.
  2. Ability to operate autonomously.
  3. Ability to detect visitors to the booth and time it takes to do so.
  4. Ability to greet visitors and thank them.
  5. Robot overall appearance.

At the conclusion of Phase 2, First, Second, and Third place winners will receive the following:

    • 1st Place: $5,000 additional dollars
    • 2nd Place: $3,000 additional dollars
    • 3rd Place: $2,000 additional dollars

How You Can Participate


For questions, please contact Kinsey Crim,