You only have to be 10% smarter than your tools

The Entrepreneurs Club announced a new contest today, specifically designed for youths aged 6-16.  Five winners will be awarded an all-expense paid trip to the annual Entrepreneurs Club, where the winners will be encouraged to pitch their dream projects for potential VC funding; alternatively, they will be given a small budget to develop a marketing plan to pitch their dream projects via crowdfunding.

The contest participants will attempt to accomplish the following goals:

  1. Design an autonomous rover*. (One winner will be announced for the best autonomous rover design.)
  2. Launch the rover into the upper atmosphere with a weather balloon**. (One winner will be announced for the best rover launch design.)
  3. Land the rover***. (One winner will be announced for the best rover landing design.)
  4. Retrieve the rover from its predetermined rendezvous point****. (One winner will be announced for the best rover rendezvous point design).

An overall winner will be announced that has shown the best combination of the most innovative and/or accurate achievement of the goals listed above.  In addition to the all-expense paid trip, the overall winner will be allowed to recruit new team members from any of the other contest winners or contest participants to pitch dream projects (primary team size may not exceed seven members).

*The rover must have onboard the following capabilities:

  1. Self-powered — may be any combination of fuel cell, ultracapacitor, nonrechargeable/rechargeable [alkaline, NiMH, NiCad, LiPo, nuclear, etc.] battery, wind, solar cell, or other means clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.
  2. Guidance control system — may be a combination of GPS, 3D visual mapping, solar, magnetic, or other means clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.
  3. Data logging system — must have a means to record location data and broadcast location data periodically, no less than once a minute (location data may include GPS coordinates, geotagged/timestamped photos or other means (see number 4 below) to record and show the rover’s current location), keeping onboard its total journey information or other means of remote storage of data logging information clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.
  4. Environmental measurement and collection tools — may be a combination of air/land/water temperature, humidity, water salinity/pH, atmosphere/soil/water contents, biological sampling, or other means clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.
  5. Additional features will be allowed as long as they are clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.
  6. NOTE: Keep in mind that the rover may arrive at the rendezvous point by air, land and/or water.  The most/efficient use of all three will increase the chance of winning for the contest participant(s).

** A list of preapproved weather balloon suppliers will be provided.

*** The rover landing may include the following:

  1. Balloon remnants still attached.
  2. Balloon remnants detached.
  3. Parachute deployment.
  4. Self-guided UAV (powered or unpowered).
  5. Descent deceleration thrusters.
  6. Aquatic vehicle capabilities (surface/submarine).
  7. Additional landing features will be allowed as long as they are clearly documented and demonstrated to the contest judges.

****The rendezvous point must be preapproved by the contest judges before the rover is launched.  The time from launch of the rover to retrieval of the rover at the rendezvous point must take no longer than 48 hours.  The contest participants and their preapproved equipment must be in full view of the contest judges and/or their official representatives during the 48-hour period.

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