2020 Fall Workshop & 3MT Competition

Thursday November 12, 2020 2-5pm

Website Fall Workshop (3)

Keynote Speaker Maria Yablonina

Meet Maria Yablonina, the Robotics Institute's newest faculty member from the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design. 


3-Minute Thesis Competition

In three minutes or less, present your robotics thesis or research paper to a panel of diverse judges. Register by October 23 to compete.


3MT Awards Presentation

The 1st Prize Winner will go on to represent the Robotics Institute at the UofT 3MT Finals. Audience will vote for their People's Choice.


Register with your UofT email address by November 11 to get the workshop meeting link.

Keynote: Maria Yablonina

Task- and Site-Specific Robots for Architecture: Smaller Robots = Larger Structures?


Today the discourse of digital fabrication in the context of architectural research is dominated by the image of an industrial robot arm performing complex movements to produce complex geometry. But what happens when we move beyond appropriation of available hardware towards architecture-specific machines and devices?

Envisioning an entire ecology of machine species designed specifically to manipulate material at an architectural scale opens up a conversation about the role of robotic creatures in architecture beyond construction. A smaller fabrication machine capable of navigating an existing architectural space and safely operating next to a human implies that a fabrication process can be executed on site, and more importantly does not have to be finite, venturing into the topics of adaptive and reconfigurable spaces.

Maria Yablonina is an architect, researcher, and artist working in the field of computational design and digital fabrication at the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design at the University of Toronto.

Her work lies at the intersection of architecture and robotics, producing spaces and robotic systems that can construct themselves and change in real-time. Such architectural productions include the development of hardware and software solutions, as well as complementing architectural and material systems in order to offer new design spaces.

Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Copy of Blue Maroon Robots Science Fair Poster (1)

It took you months to write your research paper.
Now you've got three minutes.

The Robotics Institute Three Minute Thesis Competition is a fun and informal chance to distill your research and hone your presentations skills for a general audience. You'll develop the skills needed to present complex research information in an engaging, accessible, and compelling way.

Website Fall Workshop (4)

Eligibililty & Registration

The Robotics Institute 3MT Competition is open to all graduate (Masters and PhD) students and Post Docs who are supervised by University of Toronto Robotics Institute faculty.

You may present your thesis or recent research.

Limited competition spots are available. Interested students must register to compete by October 23, 2020 using the online registration form. REGISTRATION CLOSED.

3MT Presenters

Heat 1

Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory (Nejat)
"Persuasive Robotics and the
Social Machine"

Robotics and Automation Laboratory (Goldenberg)
"Robot Bed-making using Object Region and Grasping AI

Smart Polymers & Composites Laboratory (Naguib)
"Using Electroactive Polymers for Soft Robotics

Toronto Robotics and AI Laboratory (Waslander)
"Seeing Vehicles in 3D with a Single Camera"

Dynamic Systems Lab (Schoellig)
"Neural Nets for Robot Control"

STARS Lab (Kelly)
"Targetless Radar to Camera Extrinsic Calibration"

Continuum Robotics Lab (Burgner-Kahrs)
"Learning-based Inverse Kinematics for Continuum Robots"

Adaptive NeuroRehab Systems Lab (Zariffa, Fleet)
"Tenodesis Grasp Detection in Egocentric Video"

Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory (Sun)
"Fast Eye-in-Hand 3D Scanner-Robot Calibration for Low Stitching Errors"

Heat 2

Microrobotics Laboratory (Diller)
"Control of Multiple Magnetic Microrobots for Biomedical Applications

Microfluidics & BioMEMS Lab (Liu)
"An Anti-freezing Intelligent Soft Robotics

Robot Vision & Learning Lab (Shkurti) & People, AI, & Robots Lab (Garg)
"Conservative Safety Critics for Exploration

Smart Polymers & Composites Laboratory (Naguib)
"Hybrid Piezo and Magnetic Self-sensing Actuator for Soft Robotic Applications

Dynamic Systems Lab (Schoellig) & Autonomous Space Robotics Lab (Barfoot)
"Do We Need to Compensate for Motion Distortion and Doppler Effects in Radar-Based Navigation?"

Advanced Micro and Nanosystems Laboratory (Sun)
"Optical Measurement of Highly Reflective Surfaces from a
Single Exposure"

STARS Lab (Kelly)
"Impact of Environment Uncertainty on Long-Distance Martian Navigation"

Continuum Robotics Lab (Burgner-Kahrs)
"Design of a Lightweight and Extensible Continuum Robot Using Origami"

Toronto Robotics and AI Laboratory (Waslander)
"Enhancing the Vision of Autonomous Robots"


Three awards will be presented: 1st prize, Runner Up, and People's Choice (voted by the audience). The 1st Prize Winner will be eligible to enter directly into the UofT 3MT Finals.

3MT Awards will be presented at the Workshop closing. The meeting room will stay open after the event for social time.


We've slightly modified the standard 3MT rules to help prepare Robotics Institute students for upcoming conferences and poster talks:

  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be muted when their time is up.
  • Presentations may include up to 3 slides, and may include video.
  • No additional props are permitted.
  • You may present your thesis or other recent research.

Competitors wishing to compete in the UofT 3MT Finals are advised to review the official UofT 3MT Rules, which restrict the number of slides to 1, and do not allow video or animation.


Executive Director of Advancement
University of Toronto Mississauga

Andrew currently oversees UTM’s development, alumni and government relations’ portfolios. He designed and led UTM’s capital campaign strategy within the University’s Boundless Campaign. Andrew is an active member of the Mississauga community.  He is currently a Director of the Mississauga Board of Trade, and past member of the Mississauga Summit Steering Committee and Mayor’s Task Force on Higher Education.

Managing Director
Silicon Valley Robotics

Andra is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, the non-profit industry group supporting innovation and commercialization of robotics technologies. She is a mentor, investor and advisor, founder of the Robot Launch global startup competition, Robot Garden makerspace, Women in Robotics organization, and Visiting Scholar at CITRIS People and Robots Initiative at UC Berkeley.

Senior Communications Officer
University of Toronto Engineering

Tyler has been a professional science writer and communicator for more than a decade. He has worked for museums, universities, and NGOs, and his writing has earned national awards from Engineers Canada and from Science Writers and Communicators of Canada. He is currently the Senior Communications Officer at U of T Engineering, working with students and faculty to translate new discoveries and innovations into engaging stories for a non-specialist audiences. He holds an MASc in Chemical Engineering from U of T.

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be assessed according to the criteria listed below. Please note that each criterion is equally weighted.

  • Did the presenter use language and terminology that was clear and understandable?
  • Was the pace of the talk effective?
  • Did the presenter use non-verbal communication (i.e., eye contact, voice modulation, body language, etc.) effectively?
  • Did the slide(s) enhance, rather than detract from, the talk — were they clear, legible, and concise?
  • Did the talk help you to understand the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the presenter clearly outline the nature and purpose of the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the presenter clearly indicate what is interesting about the scholarly research and creativity?
  • Did the talk follow a logical sequence?
  • Was the talk engaging?
  • Did the talk inspire you to want to know more?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their work?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain your attention?

How to Prepare


Competitors will receive presentation tips at the event from the Communications team at SGS. Post-event coaching is available to competitors.

Liam O'Leary is the coordinator for the Centre for Graduate Professional Development at the School of Graduate Studies, UofT.

Paula Karger works in graduate professional development at the University of Toronto's School of Graduate Studies.

Workshop Co-Chairs

Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Department of Mathematical & Computational Sciences (MCS @UTM)

Jonathan Kelly

Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)

Hallie Siegel

Associate Director
Strategy & Operations

It took you months to write your research paper.
Now you've got just 3 minutes.

Are you ready to compete?

© 2020 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering