Robotics For Good

In collaboration with our non-profit partners The Range of Motion Project (ROMP) and Program Your Future (PUF), Robotics@Berkeley is hosting a three-month long robotics competition in Spring 2017 to bring Berkeley undergraduates meaningful opportunities to design and prototype robotics solutions for underserved communities. Interested students can apply to take on ROMP's robotic prosthetics challenge or PUF's robotics education game challenge. Selected teams will be fully funded by Robotics@Berkeley’s sponsors, will be able to use R@B’s tools, parts, and spaces, and will have numerous opportunities to work directly with representatives from the non-profit partners, potential users, and graduate student mentors. The winning design for both challenges will be implemented by our partners in the communities they serve beginning in summer 2017.

Teams of 2-4 interested UC Berkeley students must apply to be considered for participation. Each member of the team must fill out a separate application; this allows us to more accurately guage the skillsets of each team. Teams can apply to work with ROMP, PUF, or both, but will only be accepted for a maximum of one of the challenges. All accepted teams will receive an equal amount of guaranteed funding when accepted ($150-$200); additional funds will be distributed to all teams as deemed appropriate. Competitors will be expected to spend 10-15 hours per week throughout the competition at designated Robotics@Berkeley events and at work sessions with their team. Students competing in Robotics for Good will have many opportunities to network with other members of the robotics community here at Cal through weekly Robotics@Berkeley social activities.

Team at Internet of Things hack-a-thon in a heated discussion wire holding a spool of wire.

Robotics for Good teams will be offered multiple different forms of project advising. All teams will meet at least three times with representatives from ROMP or PUF to ask questions, form ideas, and gain access to resources. In the first month of the competition, R@B and its partners will host at least three workshops on topics relevant to each challenge. Teams are encouraged to use the Arduino or Raspberry Pi platforms; a key theme throughout the competition will be how to find solutions when prototyping with these platforms both online and through different resources at UC Berkeley. This competition will emphasize community engagement and human-centered design. On multiple occasions, teams will meet with potential users, such as prosthetics users, prosthetists, teachers, and younger students to develop an understanding of their needs and backgrounds.

ROMP is a non-profit, for-impact healthcare organization dedicated to providing prosthetic and orthotic care to those without access to these services. We believe that prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces are not simply medical devices, but instruments of personal empowerment. ROMP’s mission is to eliminate ambulatory disability by providing a preferential option in orthotic and prosthetic care. By supplying prosthetic limbs and orthotic braces to those who do not have access to these services, we aim to return patients to their families and communities as productive, healthy individuals. We believe in equal access to prosthetic and orthotic services the facilitate independence through mobility. We recognize the dual hardships of living in poverty with a disability, and stand in solidarity with those who are made to suffer from an unequal distribution of care. We understand that disability is caused by broken devices and broken healthcare systems - not broken bodies - and we work to increase the mobility, visibility, and dignity of all those marginalized by lack of access to rehabilitative technology.

Program Your Future introduces and prepares participants for the wide variety of rewarding and exciting jobs in the fields of high technology. Through support from multiple global agencies, including the International Computer Science Institute and the National Center for Women and Information Technology, as well as numerous Silicon Valley tech companies, PUF programs significantly enhance the education of middle school and high school participants who aspire to pursue careers in science, engineering, research, and entrepreneurship. For the last several years, our nationally-acclaimed programs have served to increase the participation of students underrepresented in the computing and STEM fields, including individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, and individuals with disabilities.

Robotics at Berkeley competitors admiring a project with RGB leds.

Who can participate?

This competition is exclusively for undergraduates registered at UC Berkeley for Spring 2017 and visiting students studying at UC Berkeley in Spring 2017.

How does the application process work?

Students can apply to participate in Robotics For Good by completing the application form by 11:59pm February 3rd, 2017. If the individual has already chosen a team, they should list the name of their team members in the application. All applications will be reviewed by a committee of Robotics@Berkeley officers. See the application for more details.

What if I don't have a team?

Students must be in a team by the time they apply; invidual applicants will nto be accepted. Students without a team should attend Robotics@Berkeley's infosession on January 26th in The Woz. We will have a designated team-matching session at the end of the infosession.

What can I build?

Your objective is to address the challenge presented by ROMP or PUF by designing and prototyping a robotic device. See the prompts in the sections of this webpage titled "Your Challenge".

Where will I get parts for my design?

Robotics@Berkeley will allocate funding to each team to purchase parts. Parts orders are often made from suppliers such including Amazon and Jameco Electronics. Students are also encouraged to used free resources on campus when collecting parts for their prototype.

How much does this competition cost?

Thanks to our generous sponsors, this competition is free for participants. All parts must be purchased with funds provided by Robotics@Berkeley; this both makes the competition free and guarantees a level playing field.

Do I need to have robotics experience to participate?

No. Our series of workshops and work sessions are designed so that participants with little or no robotics experience can learn the skills necessary to succeed in this competition.

What are the prizes?

Prizes will be revealed to the accepted teams in the competition launch events in the week of February 6th. Prizes will be awarded to the top teams after judging takes place in April.

Why can't I access the application form?

The application form can only be accessed using accounts. If you do not have a Berkeley account, you cannot access the application. Contact us if you are a Berkeley student and have difficulty accesing the application.

What if I have a question not answered in the FAQ?

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