RoboCon 2017
Robotics@MIT Student Conference
February 10 and 11, 2017



Registration and Submissions

Abstracts due: Jan. 18, 2017
Small Group Session Proposals due: Jan. 18, 2017
Notification of acceptance: Jan. 27, 2017
Conference Program Finalized: Feb. 3, 2017
Registration Deadline: Feb. 6, 2017
RoboCon: Feb. 10-11, 2017

Attendee Registration:

Prospective speakers and poster presenters from MIT and the surrounding communities are invited to submit a 300 word abstract on their research. Accepted presenters can opt for a long talk (10-15 minutes) or short spotlight talk (3 minutes). For additional details on small group sessions please read below. For additional details about the CFA please read here.

Call for Small Group Sessions

RoboCon will feature a series of participant-led breakout sessions (small group sessions) of about 6 attendees to give students and postdocs a venue to discuss various aspects of life as a roboticist, as well as the past, present, and future cultural and technical state of the field of robotics. If you’d like to run a breakout session, please apply with a general workshop structure in mind. We are interested in seeing a general outline of the workshop, an overview of topics to be discussed and your personal goals for the workshop, and ways in which participants will be involved (either by giving formal presentations, engage in active discussions, or attend as a general audience). Below is a list of workshops that we are interested in hosting. We are also interested in hearing your ideas for workshops!

Job Search

The PhD (or masters or post-doc) is a long journey in which young students grow into mature researchers who must find gainful and personally fulfilling employment. This session will offer advice on how to determine your ideal job description, then give concrete tips to network, apply for jobs, interview, and more to make your dream a reality. We are looking for volunteers who have experience in the robotics job search process to help lead and moderate this discussion.

Bad Ideas

Autonomous trebuchets? Robots that learn to fall over? Aerial drones made out of chocolate? If you’re a fan of hilariously bad robot ideas (or, perhaps, seriously bad robot ideas), volunteer to lead this discussion. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the weirdest places.

Half-Baked Ideas

Do you have an idea for a research topic, but can’t quite get past the ideation stage? Perhaps you can’t crystallize a problem, or think of any relevant applications? Half-Baked Ideas is a session focused on fleshing half-baked research ideas into potential real projects and collaborations. Find other students interested in similar topics, and see if there’s any way to turn your high-concept into reality. (This session is not meant for recruiting someone for your fully-fleshed idea.)

Lab Tours

Are you a researcher affiliated with a robotics lab at MIT? We would love to see it! Sign up to provide an informal tour of your research lab. This session is a great opportunity to help build connections between labs and individuals in the Cambridge and Boston robotics community.

Diversity and Inclusion in Robotics

From all-male First Robotics Teams in middle schools to large PhD research labs with no black students, we are surrounded by evidence that our field is far from achieving the equity, even though the overwhelming majority of individuals pride themselves on valuing diversity and inclusion. Please join this discussion if you are interested in making a difference in the culture of our field. Participants of all backgrounds are encouraged to join this judgement-free workshop.

Future of Robotics

What will the future of robotics look like? Will robots be ubiquitous? All-knowing? Perhaps all learning? Agile? Biomimetic? Useful? This discussion is intended to discuss the future of robotics in terms of research, applications, and society.

Future Classes

Is there a robotics topic that you wish were taught at MIT, but isn’t? Come to this session and talk about what classes you’d like to see at MIT, and maybe try to organize one for IAP. If you’re interested in leading this session, please apply with discussion structure in mind.

Crossing Bridges

Human-robot interaction has borrowed from human-computer interaction; robot learning has borrowed from machine learning, motion planning has borrowed greatly from control theory. What new, interesting research areas could materialize through the cross-pollination of different fields? This discussion is for brainstorming how topics currently thought of as not related to robotics could be applied to the field.

Software Demo

Do you have a new piece of robotics software you want to get other people in the Boston Robotics Community to start using? Come and teach people why they should be interested, and teach them how to get started! These are intended to be quick bootcamps for your software project.

Hardware Demo

Do you have a new piece of robotics-related hardware you want to get other people to start using for their own applications? Come lead a session and show it off, and/or teach people how to build their own. These are intended to be quick tutorials for your hardware project.

A Technical Thing I Learned...

Learn anything cool recently? Is it related to robotics? Yeah? Awesome! Come teach us! Lead a session teaching an interesting technical concept you learned recently in robotics.

How I Failed and What I Learned...

Failure is an essential part of research, and yet we tend to publicize our successes and hide our failures. We all have awesome videos of robots failings, stories of robots acting strangely, rejected papers, funding issues, etc. Participants may listen to the lessons of others, but we encourage everyone to come prepared to talk about how you failed, what you learned, and how you kept going.


Contact Us

For questions or comments, please email robocon2017 (at)

Conference Organizers

Our conference is organized by students and post-docs from different robotics labs across campus. The following are our conference organizers and lab affiliations: