Enter the MAKE Volume 27 Robot Contest!

MAKE Volume 27 Robot Contest

Here at headquarters, we’re cranking on producing the next issue of MAKE, Volume 27, themed Robots! What better way to celebrate than to host a fun, simple robot contest? We liked the open-endedness of our Volume 26 Karts and Wheels Contest (must have wheels and carry a person), and the cool, creative entries we got as a result (Bike Buh Que, anyone?). Robots can have so much character, so we decided to make the ruling criteria of this contest most entertaining. Let your robot’s character shine! Why did folks adore Wall-E? His personality, of course. And since robot personalities come through best in action, submitting a video of your new friend is mandatory.

The rules are simple:

1. Come up with an entertaining, original robot with tons of character.
2. Document your build step-by-step with clear instructions, photos, and a video of the robot in action, then share it on Make: Projects.
3. Send an email to with a link to your Make: Projects entry when you’re done. Easy!

The editors of MAKE will then pick the best project, polish it up, and publish it in MAKE Volume 27. Entries will be judged on the quality of the documentation as well as the entertainment value of the robot. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PDT on May 13, 2011.

All entries will be judged by the editorial staff of MAKE based on the following judging criteria: (a) Entertainment Value: 50%; (b) Quality of Written Documentation: 25%; and (c) Quality of Documentation Photography/Video: 25%. The entry with the highest total score among all judging criteria will be the chosen as the Grand Prize Winner.

The winning entry will be published in MAKE Volume 27. The 3 runners-up will be featured on and mentioned in MAKE Volume 27.

Wondering what our definition of “robot” is? Our Makezine editor-in-chief Gareth Branwyn, when working on his Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots book, surveyed about 20 experts in the field, and came up with a solid definition:

A machine that senses its world in some way, processes the information from those sensors in some way, and then actuates a response in some way.

Caveat: our executive editor Paul Spinrad pointed out that this definition works as long as “senses its world” isn’t limited to merely sensing whether the world flipped its on/off switch, though switch “sensing” (e.g. bump-switch navigation) is fair game.

Questions? Post them in the comments below. Good luck, and most importantly, have fun!


I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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