Rembrandt Robotics 2017 – A Robotics Competition for Faculty of Applied Sciences' Students

In the Spring of 2017, SFU's Faculty of Applied Sciences launched the first ever Faculty-wide Robotics Competition for undergraduate students. Teams of 4 - 6 members are participating in the 2017 Rembrandt Robotics competition over the course of the year, with a competition showdown scheduled for Fall 2017 (November 17, 2017).

Competition Challenge

The competition is centred around the design of a ‘Rembrandt’ style robot capable of drawing a number of different images.  These images, which will include a test image, a standard image and an unspecified image, will be provided as part of the competition.  No more than $300.00 can be spent on materials and teams are encouraged to use recycled materials in creating their robots.  Participating students will build skills in engineering design, computer programming, public presentation, team work and project management while gaining practical experience in a robotics design competition.  


Competition participation has a number of benefits.  In addition to having the opportunity to compete for prizes, participants will:

  • enhance their professional profile by building skills in engineering design, computer programming, public presentation, team work and project management
  • have access to guidance from APSC faculty and graduate student mentors
  • gain practical experience in robotics design and development
  • receive public recognition through the award of a certificate of participation
  • gain experience working as part of a team in a high pressure environment
  • build connections with students, staff and faculty from across the Faculty of Applied Sciences


1st prize - $300.00/student - $1200.00-$1800.00/team
2nd prize - $150.00/student - $600.00-$900.00/team
3rd prize - $50.00/student - $200.00-$300.00/team

Certificate of completion for all participating students

Submission Information

Please note: as the submission deadline has passed, we are no longer accepting competition proposals.

Proposal Submission Guidelines

Interested teams should submit a project proposal. Proposals should include an outline (max 1 page, pdf format) of your:

  • Team composition/membership – provide the full name, program area and SFU ID for each of your team members.  Please also make note of the principal areas of interest (e.g. firmware, software, mechanical design, etc.) for each team member.
  • Project development timeline – outline the amount of time you expect to be able to devote the project, keeping in mind your academic and extra-curricular commitments.

A maximum of 8 teams from within the Faculty will be selected to participate in the competition.  

Team Composition/Size

To participate, teams must include:

  • at least one student from each discipline within the Faculty (Engineering/Mechatronics; Computing/Software Systems)
  • a minimum of 4 and maximum of 6 members
  • participants with varying levels of experience (first year through final year students)

Competition Criteria

Team projects will be vetted based on the following criteria:

  1. Mechanical and Electrical Design (durability, mechanical efficiency, mechanization)
  2. Firmware and Software (programming quality, programming efficiency, automation/navigation)
  3. Output (image quality, image complexity, speed)
  4. User Interface (simplicity of use/aesthetics, need for operator intervention, feedback to user)
  5. Presentation (ability to accommodate diverse audiences [gr 11/12 students, staff, faculty, etc.], written documentation, robot demonstration/explanation)
  6. Team Composition
  7. Originality (originality, resourcefulness, creativity, etc.) 

*Note - the use of pre-fabricated parts (robotic kits, pre-made circuit boards, etc.) is generally not permitted.  As part of the competition, teams will be required to disclose the source of all component parts.  Please see FAQ section for details.

Competition Timeline

The competition will run over the course of the 2017 year.  Interested teams must submit a proposal by February 6th, 2017 (extended from old deadline of January 31st, 2017) and will be notified of their selection by the end of February.  Teams will have the remainder of the Spring and Summer terms to build and test their robotic device prior to the competition which will be scheduled for early November 2017.

Proposal submission deadline – February 6th, 2017 (extended from old deadline of January 31st, 2017)
Competition date – Fall 2017 (November 17, 2017)

Frequently Asked Questions

For each team, are we required to have at least one 1st year, one 2nd year, one 3rd year, and one 4th year?

A variety of experience is strongly encouraged (rather than required). We will score the teams that show variety and diversity of experience amongst their team members more highly (and will score those that do not have this variety less highly).

How will you determine if a student is in 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year, or 4th year?

We will look at a student's completed credits to determine their year. 1st year: 0-29 credits, 2nd year: 30-59 credits, 3rd year: 60-89 credits, 4th year: 90-120+ credits

Does each team have to have at least 1 student from Engineering Science, Mechatronics Systems Engineering, Computing Science, and Software Systems?

No. You will need: 1 student from Engineering Science or Mechatronics Systems Engineering and 1 student from Computing Science or Software Systems. Each team is required to have a minimum of 4 members to maximum of 6 members. Therefore the 2-4 additional members can come from any discipline (Engineering Science, Mechatronics Sytems Engineering, Computing Science, Software Systems).

What pre-fabricated parts are permissible?

The use of Arduino and/or Rasberry PI with basic image processing libraries is permissible, however bonus points will be given for bare-metal-programming (i.e. programming from scratch without an OS or abstraction layers).  Off-the-shelf sensors can be used assuming the output is in raw-data format (Analog or digital: I2C, SPI, UART, etc.). Cameras that can already generate vectors and motion paths cannot be used.  Students will be required to provide a list/bill of all materials used within the project.

Does the robot have to use a writing implement or can it act like a printer?

The robot will be required to use a writing implement (pens, pencils, crayons, etc.). No printing heads, 3D printers, etc.