Swarm robots/AFRON $10 competition

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The submission deadline is getting close, and there is a LOT of work to be done (full BOM, physical drawings, Step-by-step instructions for creating your robot, photos, videos, the wonderfull blurb about how good the XCJ entry(ies?) are) to document a submission for this project (and complete a robot!), so this page has been created to kick start our thinking on how the entry should be structured!

The information below is extracted from The AFRON "10 Dollar Robot" Design Challenge. The page has been summarised to help focus our attention and get the activity rolling!

The suggestion is that people should focus on helping create all different things that we need to create in the submission section. So please think about which area(s) you want to help with and get started!

My personal suggestion is that the prototype robot platform with the IR shield that enables the robot to follow an IR remote is an excellent robot that is fully capable of doing very well in this competition.

I also suggest that for now, we keep the pricing information private (not on the wiki or mailing list)!

Please contribute either by editing this page or by discussion on the mailing list - subscribe by sending an email to xinchejian+subscribe@googlegroups.com and post using the address : xinchejian@googlegroups.com

An example photo showing a robot made from CARDBOARD that does something with a pingpong ball is linked from the competition page at cardboard robot.

Competition Goals

  • design a new class of affordable robots for learning
  • primary and secondary schools
  • physical behavior in response to programs and/or sensors
  • existing platforms are often too expensive for students in many African countries and other emerging economies
  • Note that US$ 10 is a target but we are happy to accept designs that don't reach this goal.


  • inexpensively built and/or manufactured
  • interested in designs that can be hand assembled based on a few easily obtained parts
  • and we're also interested in designs that could be assembled/manufactured centrally at low cost and made available.
  • We're also hoping for designs that can spur open-source sharing of software and programs.
  • The "$10 Robot" is a challenge -- not all entries may reach that price point, but all entries must be below $100 in parts for the **prototype**.
  • robot must be programmable
  • respond in some way to its environment
  • Mobile robots and/or robotic manipulators are all eligible.
  • Other than those implied by cost, there are no restrictions on materials, sensors, or control systems.

assume that their designed robots would be used in an educational setting, with each robot being used by a small team of students.

Categories .. this is the one that fits XCJ approach

   2. Traditional: Computing on-board, and programming off-board.
       In this category, the robot has an on-board processor serving as its brain. Programs are written          
       on a computer, compiled, and then downloaded onto the robot's processor, allowing the robot  
       to operate independently of the computer used to program it. In this category, the reported  
       cost of the robot should include the cost of the on-board processor and batteries, but does not 
       include the cost of the computer used to program it.

What to submit, and how

   1. A high-level description of your robot design with total cost (for one prototype unit; see point 7 regarding volume pricing).
          • Include in your description an indication of whether your robot is designed to be built from  
             scratch by the user, or mass manufactured and supplied as a kit to the user 
          • Some robots might have required accessories (e.g. a tool for downloading programs to the  
             robot) that can be shared by multiple robots in a classroom. If applicable, include such a      
             tool in the cost for a single robot, but also specify whether it can be shared by multiple
             robots, thus bringing down the overall deployment cost for a classroom.
   2. A description of the educational applications and possible resources.
           • For example, what science and technology concepts or skills can your robot help students learn?
   3. A list of parts, their sources (include URLs if applicable), availability, and their prices.
           • Note that salvaged parts are allowed, if these salvaged parts are commonly available in
             your particular context. Think of this list of parts as the starting point if someone in a
             similar context to you wanted to reproduce your robot.
           • Note also that your parts list should be complete, including things like required adhesive, screws etc.
           • Your parts list should include any consumables (e.g. batteries) and their associated cost and replacement frequency. This is a caution to think of sustainability.
   4. A list of other tools and equipment needed to create your robot and estimated prices
   5. Relevant drawings with dimensions.
            • These may be CAD drawings, particularly for machined parts, but they may also be hand-drawn
    6. Step-by-step instructions for creating your robot
    7. [Optional] If your robot can be mass manufactured, you can present an analysis of how costs would scale with quantity.
    8. Software, if any. All software must be available open-source.
    9. A description of any actual experiments conducted
   10. Pictures of your robot, if any.
   11. Videos of your robot in action, if any.
           • These videos should highlight key capabilities such as its ability to respond autonomously
             to its environment.

Note - the actual submission document is a web page! - See submission form