Stretch Robot Pitch Competition advertisement features competition details and an image that shows a robot passing a man a drink

Stretch Robot Pitch Competition

The Stretch Robot Pitch Competition, sponsored by TechSAge RERC, in collaboration with Hello Robot and P&G, is seeking innovative and creative hardware or software solutions to support individuals aging with disabilities by using the StretchTM robot. TechSAge is a collaborative grant center based at Georgia Tech and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign dedicated to understanding the needs of, and developing supportive technologies for, people aging with long-term vision, hearing, and mobility disabilities. The inaugural Stretch Competition is being hosted at Illinois, where a Stretch robot is on campus at the McKechnie Family LIFE Home. Developed by Hello Robot, Stretch is an open source mobile manipulator with reaching, grasping, and sensing capabilities to support people with a wide range of tasks. Procter & Gamble (P&G) specializes in a wide range of personal health/consumer health, and personal care and hygiene products.

Purpose: To engage students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to generate novel design concepts for Stretch that address the needs of individuals aging with disabilities at home, particularly in personal care and daily household chores. 

Submission Requirements:

  • 2 page proposal that highlights:
    • Need/Use Case: identify a need for individuals aging with disabilities, state how the proposed design product (software and/or hardware innovation with Stretch) addresses the need, and the expected significance/implications of the design. 
    • Methods/Approach: Design process, considerations, and how you will utilize Stretch and the McKechnie Family LIFE Home.
    • Concept: Detailed description of concept, including pictures or graphics, if applicable
  • Pitch video (< 3 minutes) that provides an overview of you proposed design concept. 
  • *See submission guidelines for full details and judging criteria 

Award:

  • First Place: $1000 cash award plus 20 hours in the McKechnie Family LIFE Home, a state-of-the-art smart home research facility at University of Illinois, to develop and test the proposed product with expert consultation during Spring 2022; options for course credit.
  • Honorable Mentions: Two cash awards at $500 each

Deadline: November 19, 2021

Eligibility: This competition is open to all currently enrolled University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students. Contestants may enter submissions individually or as a team.

Stretch Features

  • Able to interact with people using a low mass, contact-sensitive body
  • Works in clutter with a compact footprint and a slender manipulator
  • Weighs only 51 lbs
  • Everything included: a gripper, a computer, sensors, and software
  • Ready for autonomy
    • Calibrated
    • Python interfaces and ROS integration
    • Autonomy demos in Python
    • Open source code 

For detailed Stretch specifications, please visit: https://hello-robot.com/product 

Woman using wheelchair turning around in narrow kitchen

Aging with Disability

Older adults with long-term vision, hearing, or mobility disabilities are likely to experience unique challenges with everyday activities. In addition to managing a long-term disability, they may also experience barriers in performing activities due to age-related declines in physical, sensory, and cognitive functions. Stretch holds great potential to assist people aging with disability in carrying out a wide variety of household activities.

Use Cases

Suggested scope of projects can include developing new capabilities for Stretch and improving on its existing features and interfaces. Some examples might include:

  • Programming Stretch to assist with laundry activities
  • Developing end effectors and software routines for Stretch to dust surfaces using Swiffer® Dusters™ 
  • Programming Stretch to automatically open kitchen cabinets and retrieve items 
four researchers standing by Stretch Robot

How to Submit

  • Prepare your proposal:
    • 2 page proposal that highlights need/use case, methods/approach, and concept.
    • Pitch video (< 3 minutes) that provides an overview of you proposed design concept. Can be a video or powerpoint with audio recording
  •  Email us with your proposal materials
    • techsage@illinois.edu
    • Due to potentially large file sizes, we recommend sending us a link to your materials using cloud storage (e.g., Box, Dropbox, Google drive) or YouTube.

Timeline

  • Competition Opens: 9/7/2021
  • Submission Deadline: 11/19/2021
  • Winner(s) Announced: 12/10/2021
  • Time with Stretch in LIFE Home: Spring 2022 semester

What creative ideas do you have for Stretch to support people aging with disability at home?

Man being fed by robot  robot assists with removing blanket from man in his bed

Contact Us

For questions or more information about the competition, contact us: techsage@illinois.edu

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