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Technical and Artistic Merit

2024 Disaster Zone plaque

Aim of the Challenge

To create an engaging, fact-filled video featuring your robot.

Time limit

Your video must be between 3 and 5 minutes long.

Some background

In previous years, our Judges for this challenge have spent about half of each day of Pi Wars upstairs at the venue being presented with all the robots in turn, scoring them based on interviews with the teams. This took each Judge approximately three and a half hours Following our success with the At Home competitions in 2021 and 2022, we have decided this year to do things differently by having the teams submit videos of their presentations ahead of the main event. This should reduce the stress and panic on the competition days for both competitors and Judges alike!


For Technical and Artistic Merit, the following rules apply:

  1. You must submit a single video for your robot that covers both Technical Merit and Artistic Merit.
  2. You may show your robot working, demonstrating movement and abilities, or you may prefer a static presentation.
  3. Don’t forget to feature any attachments you may have built when showing off your robot.
  4. The video must be between 3 and 5 minutes in length (to keep things manageable for the Judges).
  5. The spoken parts of the video must be in English (our foreign language skills being a bit… lacking!)
  6. Any captions or written content must also be in English (for the same reason).
  7. Your video may have mixed content – you can have slides, audio-only sections and video.
  8. Your video must be in landscape format/orientation at a minimum of 720p resolution.
  9. Your video should be uploaded to YouTube or other sharing platform (preferably not DropBox for technical reasons!). If your video is uploaded to a broadcast platform (YouTube, Vimeo etc), please mark it as Unlisted/Hidden so that videos are only viewed by the Judges ahead of the competition weekend. They can then be set to Public following that weekend.
  10. Please don’t have a silent/non-narrated video – we want to hear from you about your robot, not just videography.
  11. Your video must be submitted by Thursday, 11th April at 12 noon (UK time). To submit, just email Mike ( with the YouTube URL or the sharing link.
  12. When producing your video, please do not use copyrighted audio (or other) material as the platforms may raise issues which may delay your video being available.


The maximum scores available for the Technical Merit and Artistic Merit challenges are 1400 points each (equivalent to other challenges), giving a total of 2800.

The following criteria will be used to Judge your robots:

  • Technical Merit
    1. Innovation – what is unique about your robot?
    2. Features – what can your robot do? (You should show it doing things, not just describe what it can do!)
    3. Build quality – prove to the Judges that it doesn’t shake apart when it tackles obstacles (that you will need to create yourself!)
    4. Attachment inventiveness – show everything that the attachments can do, not just photographs.
  • Artistic Merit
    1. Creativity towards the disaster theme.
    2. General robot design flair – show some close-ups and show video of any movement or blinkies!
    3. Video editing/production flair.
    4. Humour/whimsy (make the Judges laugh, we dare you! Keep it clean – this is a family show! We’ve had jokes, we’ve had songs, we’ve had poems, we’ve had loud, flashy adverts!)

Ask Questions and Discuss

There are a number of ways you can discuss this challenge and the competition in general.