Collegiate robot competition to attract hundreds of spectators

Posted: March 30, 2017

Robots will invade the Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC) on Saturday, April 8, during The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s robot competition.

The single-elimination tournament competition will pit 81 teams of first-year engineering honors students against one another to determine which student-built robot can best complete the required tasks. This year’s competition simulates the work needed for unmanned robots to make an island research facility operational following volcanic activity.

2016 robot competition

Each team of three to four students will set their robots in motion around a student-built 12-square-foot course that simulates a volcanic island. The fully autonomous robots have just two minutes to perform specific tasks, including initializing communications systems by adjusting an antenna, extracting a core sample from the volcanic rock and delivering it to a bin for processing, activating the system for collecting a lava sample, turning on a seismograph recorder, and returning to the protective bunker. The robots are limited in size to a 9-square-inch footprint and constructed of various materials, including sheet metal, PVC, acrylic, plywood and Erector set components.

The event is the culmination of a challenging semester-long design-and-build project for 322 freshmen honors students that puts their new engineering skills to the test and gets them excited about the field of engineering. 

The event is open to the public; traditionally, several hundred spectators attend.

WHAT: First-Year Engineering Honors Student Robot Competition

WHEN: 12:00-6:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, 2017

  • 12:00 p.m. to approximately 3:30 p.m.: Random preliminary round matches
  • 4:15 to approx. 5:30 p.m.: Single-elimination tournament
  • 5:45 p.m.: Presentation of awards

WHERE: Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC), 337 W. 17th Avenue, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Parking is available at the Neil Avenue Parking Garage or the Tuttle Park Place Parking Garage at an hourly rate.

Editors: Photographers and videographers are welcome to attend the event and take photos or video during the competition. Faculty and students will be available for interviews. RSVP to or 614-292-4064. Download an event fact sheet at

Category: Students