Competition Theme:

Expandable Robots – From Small to Big (S2B)


Robots for exploration and operations, such as space robots for planetary surface missions, are facing constraints in mass and volume. Larger robots have potentially more capabilities for mobility and dexterity, yet small packing volumes are justified by the constraints of space transport vehicles. While certain folding is already in use (e.g. for wheels, solar panels, mast), a significant increase in packing is needed if one considers sending multiple robots to operate in teams or swarms, while having reasonably large deployed apertures. Expansion would for example result in longer legs which would allow easier overcoming of the terrain obstacles, longer arms to reach more distant locations to collect samples for analysis, overall larger aperture of the own body as a virtual instrument.


This challenge is to demonstrate robots that can be packed in small volumes, and can deploy from those small packages to larger volume/aperture, and can demonstrate functionality in the larger, expanded form factor.


  1. Robots should start by being packed within a 30 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm volume ‘box’ (3U in cubesat terminology). Packages will be placed by team members on the ground, at designated spot.
  2. Robots deploy, remotely controlled or autonomously, to a larger volume,
  3. The competition will have three categories of challenges. A robot can participate in one only, or in multiple challenges.
    1. Traversability  – in which the winner would be the robot that expands its body from the  box (at least one dimension is expected to be larger than 1 m) and moves on the ground reaching longest lateral traverse in 10 minutes, in an environment with obstacles of various heights (surrounding ‘walls’ of increasing height, e.g. 20cm, 40cm and 60 cm tall).  The function would be one equivalent of a robot/rover that traverses rough terrain going over obstacles.
    2. Agility – in which the robot expands its body from the  box (at least one dimension is expected to be larger than 1 m) and exhibits a function in place, e.g. raises and rotates a turret with a videocamera, seeing over obstacles of various heights (surrounding walls, e.g. up to 60cm tall) The function would be one equivalent of a lander with various deployable instruments that are deployed.
    3. Esthetics – form and function chosen by competing team, for a robot that comes out/deploys from a packed form factor of the ‘box’. This would be an inspiring/artistic creation.

Procedure for participation:

  1.  Submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to participate (title, team members, affiliation, email of team lead, abstract up to 250 words describing the solution in high level terms).
    Deadline: September 15 2018.
  2. Submit a VIDEO file (or link to download), video up to 5 minutes long, in which you present your robotic entry solution. Its narration/voice description should be in English. Subtitles/test during the video can be in English or Japanese.
    Deadline: September 30th, 2018
  3. Demo showcase the robotic solution during the SMC Robotic Competition during SMC Conference, on Oct 8th, and Oct 9th (see program).

Submit the Notice of Intent, and the Video Submission (or a link to the video) – or any questions you may have by email to,,

Subject of email “Robotic competition, SMC2018 S2B, Team/Name”, where name can be the team name or if not decided yet, the institution or lead person name.


First prize: $2500; Second prize: $1500; Third prize: $1000. Additional prizes may be offered. The Jury will award the prizes for the overall competition, regardless in which challenge category the robot competed. That means all prizes could end up being awarded for robots competing in the same category, if such robots show impressive performance compared to those of other categories. However, it is expected to have awards in each category.

Organizing Committee:

Adrian Stoica (Chair)
Tadahiko Murata
Imre Rudas
Saeid Nahavandi
Ferat Sahin
Gyorgy Eigner
Roxanna Pakkar