$10 Robot Challenge

Do you have ideas on how to make a $10 educational robot for primary and secondary school-age kids? BB pal Ken Goldberg at UC Berkeley and Ayorkor Korash at Ghana's Ashesi University have launched the African Robotics Network (AFRON) Challenge seeking designs for 10 dollar (or close) robots. Deadline for submissions is September 15 and prizes include cash and Raspberry Pis. And before you start debating whether an electric pencil sharpener is a robot, Ken and Ayorkor have outlined a broad definition of "robot" for their purposes. From the challenge description:

 Color Robot This challenge is an opportunity to think creatively about robotics platforms that can be inexpensively built and/or manufactured and that are useful for science and/or technology education at primary, secondary or tertiary levels. In this competition, we are interested in designs that can be hand assembled based on a few easily obtained parts (e.g., motors, servos, sensors, etc) and we're also interested in designs that could be assembled/manufactured centrally at low cost and made available. We're also hoping for designs that can spur open-source sharing of software and programs. The $10 Robot is a challenge to get participants thinking creatively -- not all entries may reach that price point, but all entries must be below $100 in parts for the prototype.

For the purpose of this competition, a robot must be programmable and respond in some way to its environment (this could be through sensors, switches, and/or the camera built into a laptop). Mobile robots and/or robotic manipulators are all eligible. Other than those implied by cost, there are no restrictions on materials, sensors, or control systems.

African Robotics Network (AFRON) 10 Dollar Robot Design Challenge

illustration by Mark Frauenfelder


  1. Japanese students are working on this right now, so I imagine. Tough to build something that is robotic for 10 dollars (US dollars I imagine). Still, never discount the endevours of human ingenuity. Which further reminds of Scott Adams work with cubicles.

    Reminds me of my boss asking for the employees to provide novel ideas for enhancing profits and performance. All ideas were rejected that required capital investment.

  2. many of the BEAM designs would fit into this category, especially if you could scavenge some of the parts (motors from cellphones, pagers)

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