University of Vermont

Aiken Maker Faire and Engineering Challenge

Aiken Engineering Challenge

Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Davis Center, UVM

The Aiken Engineering Challenge is a program supported by the University of Vermont George D. Aiken Lectures that aims to involve young Vermonters in engineering and technology, a topic that long interested Senator Aiken. Aiken Engineering Challenge is a program of the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences (CEMS) at UVM.

Students will build a device to meet an engineering challenge, and compete with their device at an event held at UVM. The Aiken Engineering Challenge will be held in conjunction with a "Maker Faire" where youth, teachers, and parents will exhibit their creations during the Aiken Challenge, all for a great day of design and innovation.

Aiken Engineering Challenge is open to all high schools and middle schools in Vermont and nearby areas of New Hampshire and New York. Groups such as 4-H, Boy/Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs, and ad-hoc groups are also encouraged to participate. There is no cost to enter, but you must register as a team.

This challenge is an achievable one and can be solved using ordinary hand tools, readily available materials, robotic components that most schools already have, and for a reasonable cost. But there is real engineering involved. The students will need to analyze the problem, consider a variety of solutions, build a trial solution, test it, make improvements, and build a final design that is robust and reliable. The challenge is structured so that almost any team can achieve some success, but it is not easy to win. This year it will be very important to finish your device in time to practice!

Students get an experience with hands-on learning and engineering thought, both necessary to solve any number of contemporary real world challenges in energy, agriculture, the environment, and communication.

The 2016 Challenge

Robots will play on a 6' x 8' flat surface with a curb around the edge. Red and blue wooden blocks are positioned near the center of the field. The object of the game is to bring wooden blocks into the robot's Goal and stack them. The more blocks in the Goal, and the higher the stacks, the higher the score. There is an area near the center of the field where the opposing robots can cooperate to build additional stacks for bonus points.

Four robots play at the same time, in teams of two, a Red Alliance against a Blue Alliance. Each team will play four matches and will be randomly paired with a different alliance partner for each match. Robots may collect and move blocks, stack blocks, and interfere with the opponent's robots and blocks. Robots may also attempt to remove blocks in the opponent's Goal and also knock over an opponent's stacks. The two teams on a successful alliance will need to work together to accomplish their objectives. Points earned for all four matches will be totaled; if time permits there will be a playoff for the top 4 teams.


Teams consist of 2 to 6 students. Each team must have an adult coach, who need not be a teacher. A school or group may enter more than one team.


A number of prizes will be awarded, including prizes for the best performance and for the best engineering presentation. Prize awards will be made by several prominent local engineering companies that support the Aiken Engineering Challenge.

Official Rules

The official rules for this year's challenge can be found here.


The form for registering your team can be found here. The registration deadline is October 21, about a month before the event. A We encourage teams to register early, even if you don't yet have a team name or know all the participants.

Question and Answer System

You may post a question about the rules or anything else to Questions posted and the answers to them can be found here. "Aiken Engineering Challenge" was once named "TASC Challenge"

Last modified November 08 2016 04:56 PM