The natural robotics contest

A robotics design competition open to all, with the winning idea turned into a real robot.

Start date

May 2022

End date

June 2022

Project website



Nature is a fantastic entry-point for teaching; almost everyone has an intuitive sense for animal behaviour and locomotion from watching pets/movies/pigeons, even without realising it. So, we will be running a design contest in which students submit their ideas for a robot inspired by nature. Maybe a woodpecker robot finding parasites in trees? Maybe a robot falcon protecting the eggs of sea turtles? Maybe a robotic plant that helps soil regenerate? And we will turn the winning design into a real, working robot.

The competition will provide a novel way for students to engage with creative design outside of a normal teaching environment, and documenting the winning design will provide a recent and tangible ‘case study’ to be used in teaching. And it will be a lot of fun.

After the competition deadline we will:

  • Create a display of contest entries
  • Produce a short video on the making of the winning robot and circulate to the media
  • Write a research paper.

Funding amount




Contest judges

  • Raphael Zufferey
  • Sophie Armanini
  • Ketao Zhang
  • Sina Sareh.