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Date: Thu, 8 Oct 2020 15:01:33 -0700
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[apologies if you receive multiple postings]

What is the HRI 2021 Student Design Competition?

The HRI 2021 Student Design Competition (short: SDC) is a friendly
international competition, open to small teams (or even just you!) of
high-school and university-level students: invent and design an interactive
robot, and present it in front of an international audience of researchers,
during the HRI 2021 Conference, that will be held online, in March 2021.

We invite students from all nationalities & all backgrounds to join the
challenge, whether you are working and studying in technical, art/design,
or social science disciplines.

More information here:


Acknowledging the very special circumstances caused by COVID-19, and
building upon the conference theme of Bolder Human-Robot Interaction, this
year’s student design competition theme is “A Robot to Support Us Through
Lockdown”: it is up to you to interpret this theme your way! (and feel free
to go a bit beyond it if you already have a clear idea in mind!)

Some examples could be:


   A robot that facilitates staying in touch with your loved ones

   A robot comforting you at home with its calming sounds or smells

   A robot dancing with you when you feel down

   A robot that you send down the street to carry messages for your
   self-isolating neighbours

   A robot that helps managing family dynamics

But of course, these are only examples! We expect you to come up with your
own, crazy & creative ideas!

We encourage participants to focus on the actual process of creating a robot,
including what the robot would bring to us; what are the ideas and
principles behind it; how the robot is built, how it feels (textures,
materials, shape, colours, sounds...), how it 'exists' in our environment
(its place, role, interactions with other objects or places), and, of
course, how it interacts with its human companions. For this, feel free to
focus on particular interaction situations, and create scenarios that
illustrate how the robot fits within the lives of the humans involved.

How to create your robot?

We imagine participants using recycled materials (cereal card boxes,
straws, clothes...), or sourcing small products from your local stores
(including IKEA or MUJI), hacking toys, or using everyday objects from
their homes or labs, then actuating them using purchased or homemade
hardware and software (perhaps using open-source tools) to add movement,
visual indicators, or sound, so the robot can express itself and/or
communicate its use or purpose. Don’t feel limited by any of these
suggestions: be creative! The competition focuses less on demonstrations of
technical proficiency and more on the design process of ideas that inspire,
surprise, and delight.

How to take part in SDC 2021?

Form a team (5 people max., but you can also participate as an individual)
and prepare the initial submission to be submitted via the HRI website
before the 10 December 2020. Creating and submitting an initial submission
is how student teams enter the competition and indicate that they are
working on a project. Each initial submission should be a 1–2 page
document, that includes the following informations:


   Project title and authors (names, school/university, and email

   An abstract of 100 words or fewer.

   A brief description of the design or application scenario: who will
   interact with the robot? Where? What kind of activities will the robot and
   the humans do together? The description can be technical and/or behavioral.
   Feel free to add pictures and drawings to explain your idea.

   A brief description of your design process: How did you generate ideas?
   Challenge them? Revisit them?You can include the different robot
   ideas/concepts you have explored (and not just the final one). You can do
   that by adding pictures of your ideas, making videos, including drawings,
   3D models, post-its, etc.


Submission Deadline: 10 December 2020

Acceptance Notification: 8 January 2021

Camera-ready Deadline: 18 January 2021

Closer to the conference, we will ask you to submit your presentation
material: a video showcasing your project and design process, and,
optionally, an additional interactive presentation of the robot that you
created. Additional details on these submissions will be provided to you
after acceptance of your project. However, do not forget to document and
(video-)record your design process from the very start!


Patrícia Alves-Oliveira, University of Washington

Séverin Lemaignan, Bristol Robotics Lab

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