ChemBot wins robot ‘war’

A remotely controlled robot called ChemBot is the $5,000 first-place winner in the Grant Imahara VEXplorer Robot Challenge.

Explosions, noxious fumes, burns, stains, and all manner of unpleasantness…there are times when chemists simply do not want to get too close to the chemicals that they are mixing.

Offering a potential solution is ChemBot, the $5,000 (£2,700) first-place winner in the Grant Imahara VEXplorer Robot Challenge, sponsored by Revell, Innovation First, Robot magazine and Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks.

Gustavo Goretkin, contest winner, said in his YouTube demonstration: ‘Sometimes, no matter how many precautions you take before conducting an experiment, something might go wrong.’

Unless, of course, experiments can be conducted remotely using a robot. That is exactly what Chembot allows chemists to do through controlling the actions of a robotic arm carried on a mobile base and observing the results through a camera mounted on its body.

Out of dozens of applications, the contest itself gave 25 semi-finalist robot enthusiasts a chance to compete for a $5,000 scholarship grand prize and a $2,000 (£1,087) second-place scholarship. 10 more contestants were given a chance to win $200 (£108) gift certificates redeemable at

Contestants used the VEXplorer robotics kit, which includes the SolidWorks Student Design Kit, and any additional robotics parts (up to a limit of $100 (£54)) from to create a unique and original application.

Entrants then had to post a video demonstration on YouTube. Several competitors included SolidWorks designs and animations in their videos.