press release
Published: 24 April 2023

New competition could bring your bio-inspired robot idea to life 

Imagine a world where a woodpecker robot could find and “eat” parasites in trees, or a mechanical falcon was protecting sea turtle eggs? This is a reality envisioned by engineers at the University of Surrey who are inviting submissions for this year’s Natural Robotics Contest. 

The contest is a public competition open to all. Anyone can submit ideas for nature-inspired robots that can help the world. 

Dr Robert Siddall, Lecturer in robotics and founder of the competition, University of Surrey said: 

“Last year we had so much fun launching this competition and creating the winning entry, Eleanor Mackintosh’s Robo-fish. The Robo-fish, which was named Gillbert, eats microplastics directly from water sources.   

“For 2023 we want to inspire more people to submit ideas for robots that help the world be a better place. We have a lesson plan available for teachers, you’ll have a few months to bring ideas together and get inspired by nature.” 


This year’s theme is inspired by the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) and the winning idea will be made into a real, working prototype by a team of expert engineers.  

Submissions will need to embody the key goals from COP15, which focus on tackling degrading ecosystems, human-caused extinctions, protecting land/sea, reducing food waste, reducing invasive species, sharing the benefits of biodiversity equally, bringing pollution levels down and incorporating nature into agriculture. 

More details of the competition can be found at The Natural Robotics Contest website, and it will be open until 1st July 2023.  


Notes to editors 

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