New Competition Brings Robots to Market

The field of robotics has a long and rich tradition of competitions, from FIRST and Botball to the DARPA Autonomous Driving Grand Challenges and the Google Lunar X-Prize. By inspiring contestants to out-innovate one another, competitions like these have helped generate great technology as well as excitement among students and researchers.

Now there is a new robotics competition—one designed to take the next step of getting good robotics ideas out of the labs and into commercial production. RoboBowl is a competition with a focus on business plans, encouraging start-ups to bring great robotic ideas to market.

Co-sponsored by The Robotics Technology Consortium (a non-profit robotics industry organization), the Innovation Accelerator (a private promoter of economic competitiveness that works in partnership with Federal entities), and Carnegie Mellon University, RoboBowl intends to spin off a series of competitions, with the first one focused on the area of “healthcare and quality of life.” Five finalists will each get $5,000 and an invitation to a final competitive round, the winner of which will take home an additional $20,000.

Full information is available here. And whether you're a student, an engineer, or a start-up business with good ideas for a product, stay tuned for announcements of other RoboBowl competitions on other robotics topics around the country, and contribute your ideas via

Chuck Thorpe is Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics at OSTP

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