Eco-Bots: A Robotics Competition for Faculty of Applied Sciences' Students

In Fall 2018, SFU's Faculty of Applied Sciences launched their second annual undergraduate Faculty-wide Robotics Competition: Eco-Bots!

In honour of the SFU Sustainable Energy Engineering program all teams were tasked to create robots that had a sustainability component and were able to collect organic and non-organic waste.

Teams were made up of 4 - 6 students from Computing Science, Software Systems, Engineering Science, or Mechatronics Systems Engineering.

The 2019 competition showdown happened on February 27, 2019 at SFU Surrey. Teams were given the opportunity to showcase their robots and compete for the top $1800 cash prize.

Competition Challenge

The competition was centered around the design of an 'eco-bot' capable of collecting organic and non-organic waste. During the competition, each robot was tasked with differentiating between objects and avoiding potential obstacles. No more than $300.00 could be spent on materials and teams were encouraged to use recycled materials wherever possible. Additionally, each robot was created with sustainably as one of the key design components.

Participating students built skills in engineering design, computer programming, public presentation, team work and project management while gaining practical experience in a robotics design competition.   


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

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


1st prize - $1800.00/team
2nd prize - $900.00/team
3rd prize - $450.00/team

Certificate of completion for all participating students

Application Information

Proposal Submission Guidelines

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

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

  • Team competition/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.
  • Preliminary ideas - include any preliminary ideas you have for the project

A maximum of 10 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 (quality, 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.

Additionally, in honour of the new SEE program, each robot should be designed with sustainability in mind. Example: solar powered, clean power, renewable energy, etc.

Competition Timeline

The competition will run during the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters.  Interested teams must submit a proposal by September 24, 2018  and will be notified of their selection in October.  Teams will have the remainder of the Fall term to build and test their robotic device prior to the competition which will be on February 27, 2019.

Proposal submission deadline – September 24, 2018
Competition date – February 27, 2019

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).

Highlights from the 2nd annual competition, Eco-bots:

Highlights from the inaugural competition, Rembrandt Robotics: