Virtual Design Competition – Robots to the Rescue

As a FIRST alum, mentor, and volunteer I know how hard it has been to have the season cancelled. I’ve been working with the team at PTC to create a completely virtual design competition with our online CAD application, Onshape. In “Robots to the Rescue” teams are challenged to design an FRC or FTC style robot that can solve a current real-world problem .

The competition launches today and runs until May 15th. We are going to hold webinars, training sessions, and Q&As throughout the contest period. If this is something that is interesting to you, you can see details about it on our website:

In order to help support teams for next season, we will be giving away grant money for the winning teams. More information about that can be found here:

We hope this is a really exciting chance for teams to get back together and collaborate virtually! We look forward to seeing what everyone is able to come up with.

If you have any questions reach out to


I would’ve love to participate, but what are we designing here? Our 2020 robots?

For the contest your team should design a robot that solves a real-world problem that you identify. You are able to use parts you designed for your 2020 robot if they assist with your design. You can see the full rules here:

Ahh, thank you!

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So this is only within one’s own team right, or can people on different teams work together?

Edit: Is there a limit on how many people can participate in an alliance?

We absolutely encourage teams to work together! We actually encourage it in the bonus points criteria of the judging rubric.

There’s no limit on how many teams can be in an alliance, but the expectation is that each team creates their own robot. The alliance is a combination of robots that may work together to solve a common problem. Each team in the alliance will be judged separately but all teams will receive the alliance bonus.

My team plans to participate. In order to help us and other teams looking for alliance partners, I made a short Google Form asking for basic information to allow teams to connect with each other. If people find this helpful, please share it around so other teams can see, especially if you have FTC affiliations.

Request Form


I filled out the google form, but if anyone wants to reach out directly, email me!

Our FRC team is working on something to deliver supplies and be easily sanitized, but we have not solidified our idea yet.

Yeah the spreadsheet has been pretty slow to pick up traction, but I didn’t see any other attempts to form alliances anywhere.

We are hoping to form an alliance. We hope to create a robot designed to allow schools and other people to experience museums, zoos, and landmarks virtually.

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Thank you so much for putting this together! I’ll include a reference to this post in our next RttR update email. That will hopefully drive a lot more teams to it :slight_smile:

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That you for putting together this design challenge. I am part of 7826 out of Marquette, MI. We are designing a bot that sanitizes rooms AND individual surfaces with UV light. We are looking for alliance partners–contact me at or 6089606226 if you are interested

Hi, I’m part of a FTC team (14535 Alpacas) from San Diego. We are also thinking of using UV lights for the COVID issue. Our team would like to be your team’s alliance.

Hello, I am part of the FTC team Metro CyborKnights #14212 from Forest Hills NY. We are trying to design a bot that can administer medical tests to patients.

If anyone wants to reach out to me, email me at

@KenzieB by proper fabrication documentation, does that mean having a drawing for each individual part.

Yes, for custom parts that you design we would like to see drawings. We would also like to know what process would be used to make those parts: laser cut, milled, turned, etc. You could also include more documentation like a Bill of Materials with prices and estimated machining time. Anything that shows you have considered how to build your robot and that it is feasible will be helpful!

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Thanks for the clarification, and thanks to @vikram123 for asking the question. This wasn’t incredibly clear from the get-go, so it might be worthwhile to update the challenge page with a few more details about what is expected in the submissions.


We can make an update! We are also going to host a webinar on Thursday to go over the submission process and what we are looking for in the submissions so I would definitely recommend joining if you can:

Team 7461 had an amazing time participating – we designed a robot to pick up small debris, which is often difficult for humans to pick up efficiently.
Our robot features:
An 8 wheel, 21"x18" West Coast drive frame
A brush collector, inspired by vacuums / @saikiranra
An uneven virtual four-bar arm, actuated by an over-centering 4-bar linkage

Our CAD can be found here, and our Robot Showcase document can be found here.

Again, huge thanks to PTC for organizing – this was an awesome way for some of our newer members to get practice, and I admittedly had a lot of fun going crazy with the arm linkage :smile:


Holy cow! Thank you for showing this! This is so cool!!!

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