Science and Engineering Area

Alabama Robotics Competition: Schedule

The following represents the tentative schedule of the contest. Family members and teachers of participants are welcome to attend the opening discussion, competition rounds, and awards presentation.


  • Check-in
  • Setup computer
  • Collect T-shirt and Registration Materials


  • Lunch
  • Explanation of Rules
  • Keynote Speaker

Approximately Noon-2:30pm (contest will end at 2:30pm regardless of start time)

  • Robotics Contest
  • Visitors can watch the contest live from the floor, or on a projected screen in the main contest area


  • Break
  • Snack Period
  • Time to load computers for transport


  • Awards Presentation

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Vishesh Vikas (UA Agile Robotics Lab)


Shape-changing Robots using Soft Materials and Tensegrity Principles


Robots are becoming our new friends – we use them for cleaning houses (e.g., Roomba), toys, autonomous driving cars and other daily tasks. The next generation robots will have the unique ability to safely interact with humans, change shapes and perform complicated tasks. Introducing soft materials and tensegrity principles into robot designs imparts these attributes. Imagine a swarm of robots that can crawl to explore an environment, and, upon completion of this task, combine into a spherical ball and roll out. The rolling of a soccer ball is very different from crawling motion of a four legged robot, and these motions can assist these robots to maneuver difficult terrains. The talk will introduce how the fundamental principles of geometry are used to design these robots, and also introduce how to use combination of cables and rigid struts to make resilient tensegrity robots.

Dr. Vishesh Vikas is an associate professor in Mechanical Engineering at University of Alabama (UA) and director of the Agile Robotics Lab (ARL, He obtained is PhD from University of Florida, Gainesville and was postdoctoral researcher in Tufts University, Medford thereafter. He teaches courses in mechatronics and robotics, and has research interests in soft robots, tensegrity robots with applications to exosuit design, agriculture robotics, underwater robotics, space robotics, and search & rescue.