Michigan Makeathon 2016

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Makeathon Case Competition Rules and Details


This case competition is a special category of the Makeathon 2016 event hosted by MPowered and sponsored by National Instruments. The 2016 case competition focuses on robotics and manuevering obstacles.


All participants must be eligible to participate at the MPowered Makeathon 2016 and be signed up for the case competition. Teams will be made up of 3-5 people.

Design Challenge

Vehicle intelligence, automation, and unmanned systems are becoming more prominent in the technology that surrounds us. For this challenge we are looking to design a vehichle (or robot) that can overcome one of it's greatest nightmares... the staircase. The goal is to build a vehicle that can maneuver it's way up and/or down a staircase while carrying a light payload.


Be creative! We want to see how students like you can engineering a better world using LabVIEW and myRIO.

  1. The robot/vehicle must use the myRIO as the main controller. External libraries (C++, etc) can be used in addition to LabVIEW
  2. The payload is lightly secured using an inch strip of double sided tape.
  3. You are encouraged to use the provided parts/tools in the kit but are not restricted to it.
  4. The robot/vehicle size/weight is restricted by the staircase built to judge the competition. Also be sure to consider the parts provided in the kit.
  5. The robot/vehicle can be autonomous or remotely (wired or wireless) controlled.
  6. There are no other restrictions to the implementation or form factor, except for safety. Be sure to consider how the points are awarded for each task


For consistency the vehicles will be tested on a staircase specially created for this competition. The staircase will be available at the North Campus Art and Architecture Building for test runs before judging takes place. The vehicles are expected to be thethered to a power supply.

Each robot will be awarded points based on the criteria set below and the team with the most points wins. Each team should aim for as many points as possible using the same robot. Minimal reconfiguration is allowed between technical challenges. Each team will have at most 3 (cumulative) re-attempts at tasks 1-5.

1Climb up the staircase in individual steps10 per step (Max 50)
2Navigate down the stairs in individual steps... Carefully!8 per step (Max 40)
3Carry a load up a stair5 per step (Max 25)
4Carry a load down a stair6 per step (Max 30)
5No reconfiguration between tasks 1 and 2 (in any order)20
6Wireless monitoring or control35
7Tech Judge: Technical Creativity/ExecutionUp to 50

Art Judge: Artistic Appeal

Up to 50

Max Points300

Expert judges will be present at the event to award discretionary points based on certain criteria:

  • Technical Creativity/Execution: You will also have the opportunity to interact with the tech judge describing interesting design decisions or innovative approaches.
  • Artistic Appeal: Think user interface/experience, paintings, LEDs, tricks & effects, 3D printing textures, expert woodsmanship, etc

Provided Parts

In addition to the available materials for the Makeathon event, the following parts are exclusively available to teams participating in this case competition:

  1. NI myRIO
  2. 1:53 DC Motor/Gearbox (x2) - Link updated. It's 6V (not 12V)
  3. Dual H-bridge
  4. DC Servo
  5. IR Range Sensor
  6. Micro Limit Switch
  7. 12V 6A Power Supply
  8. 12VDC to 5VDC Power Converter

The kits will be handed out at the start of the Makeathon 2016 event according to the schedule. The parts listed above must remain unmodified and should be returned at the end of the competition. Jumper cables, wires, splitters can be modified as necessary


  • 1st Place Case Competition: $1000
  • More NI Sponsored prizes and awards
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Re: Makeathon Case Competition Rules and Details

Artistic Appeal [50 points]

How are the aesthetics and craftsmanship of the robot? How well-designed are the user interface and the code? How much thoughtfulness and intentionality was present in designing a robot that not only can be useful, but is also something beautiful that people can appreciate?

Make sure to prepare a short pitch about your robot, the thought process behind the design, why different design decisions were made, and anything else you want to include.

Technial Creativity / Execution [50 points]

How well were the electrical, software, and mechanical systems of the robot designed / built? What was your approach to the challenge and what sort of development process did you take? Did you encorporate any particularly creative or innovative solutions? Is there anything that you would have done differently, or what additional ideas would you pursue given more time?

Be prepared to discuss the design of the different systems (electrical, mechanical and software) of your robot, as well as the team's development strategy and any innovations the team made

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