To address the annual design challenge, participants exhibit and demonstrate their knowledge of mechanical and control systems by creating an animatronic device with a specific purpose (i.e., communicate an idea, entertain, demonstrate a concept, etc.) that includes sound, lights, and an appropriate surrounding environment (a display).
In response to the annual design challenge, participants develop a set of architectural plans and related materials, and construct both a physical and computer-generated model to accurately depict their design. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview.
Participants use digital audio technology to create original content for a podcast piece that addresses the annual theme. The podcast must feature high level storytelling techniques, voice acting, and folly sound effects; the full entry must include documentation of the podcast development process and elements. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants select a contemporary biotechnology problem that addresses the annual theme and demonstrates understanding of the topic through documented research, the development of a solution, a display (including an optional model or prototype), and an effective multimedia presentation. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview.
Board Game Design
Participants develop, build, and package a board game that focuses on a subject of their choice. Creative packaging, and the instructions, pieces, and cards associated with the pilot game will be evaluated. Semifinalists set up the game, demonstrate how the game is played, explain the game’s features, and discuss the design process.
Participants take a parliamentary procedure test to qualify for the semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists conduct an opening ceremony, items of business, parliamentary actions, and a closing ceremony.
In response to the annual theme, participants create an illustrated children’s story of artistic, instructional, and social value, and submit documentation related to the development of the physical storybook. Semifinalists read their story aloud and participate in an interview.
Participants take a test, which concentrates on aspects of coding, to qualify for the semifinal round of competition. Semifinalists develop a software program – in a designated amount of time – that accurately addresses an onsite problem.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Architecture
Participants use complex computer graphic skills, tools, and processes to respond to a design challenge in which they develop representations of architectural subjects, such as foundation and/or floor plans, and/or elevation drawings, and/or details of architectural ornamentation or cabinetry. The solution to the design challenge and participant answers in an interview are evaluated.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Engineering
Participants use complex computer graphic skills, tools, and processes to respond to a design challenge in which they develop three-dimensional representations of engineering subjects, such as a machine part, tool, device, or manufactured product. The solution to the design challenge and participant answers in an interview are evaluated.
Data Science and Analytics
Participants identify a societal issue, collect or compile data from various sources about the issue, and then produce documentation and a digital scientific poster about their findings. Semifinalists create a synopsis and digital visual representation of a data set provided in an onsite challenge.
Debating Technological Issues
Participants research the annual topic and subtopics and prepare for a debate against a team from another chapter. Teams are instructed to take either the pro or con side of a selected subtopic, submit a summary of references, and use their research to support their assigned position. The quality of a team’s debate determines semifinalists and finalists.
Digital Video Production
Participants develop and submit a digital video and a documentation portfolio (including such items as a storyboard, script, summary of references and sources, and equipment list) that reflects the annual theme. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants design, draw, and construct a CO2-powered dragster that adheres to specifications, design and documentation requirements, and the annual theme. Semifinalists compete in a double-elimination race and participate in an interview.
Drone Challenge (UAV)
Participants design, build, assemble, document, and test fly an open-source Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) according to the stated annual theme/problem specifications. The required documentation portfolio must include elements such as a photographic log, wiring schematics, and a description of the programming software used. Semifinalists participate in an interview.
Participants develop a solution to an annual theme that is based on a specific challenge noted by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in its compilation of the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. The solution will include a documentation portfolio, a display, and a model/prototype. Semifinalists deliver a presentation and participate in an interview.
Essays on Technology
Participants are given two hours to write a research-based essay – with citations – using an essay prompt and two (2) or more sources provided onsite. The essay must include insightful thoughts about the current technological topic presented in the prompt.
Participants select a technology-related or TSA topic from among three topic cards and prepare and give a three-to-five-minute speech that communicates their knowledge of the chosen topic. The quality of the speech determines advancement to the semifinalist level of competition, for which an identical competition procedure is followed to determine finalists.
Fashion Design and Technology
To address the annual theme, participants demonstrate expertise in fashion design principles by creating a wearable garment, garment patterns, and a documentation portfolio. Semifinalist teams present their garment designs (worn by team models), discuss the design process with evaluators, and respond to interview questions.
Participants design, build, fly, and adjust (trim) a rubber-band powered model aircraft to make long endurance flights inside a contained airspace. Documentation (including elements such as attributes of the model design, drawings, and an analysis of the trim modifications), an inspection of the model and the required model flight box, and official times for two flights are aspects of the evaluation.