Our crowdfunding campaign has ended but you can still support RoMeLa by clicking here.


Raised toward our $100,000 Goal
232 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on January 01, at 12:00 AM PST
Project Owners


We are RoMeLa, the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at UCLA and our latest endeavor is the creation of a cutting-edge humanoid robot that we hope will one day save lives. Named ARTEMIS (Advanced Robotic Technology for Enhanced Mobility and Improved Stablity), the robot you’ll help build will be the first humanoid in the world to make use of the exciting new artificial muscle technology developed in our lab. Our technology will enable ARTEMIS to run and jump like an athlete.

Eventually, we envision that RoMeLa’s artificial muscle technology will be used to create robots that can be used in disaster relief scenarios to save lives. But before RoMeLa can further develop our robots for rescue missions in the future, we first need to test ARTEMIS in an international autonomous robot soccer competition called RoboCup. RoboCup 2020 will be the perfect testing ground of ARTEMIS’s intelligence and dynamic ability to walk, run, and kick a ball.

Rescue Me! Tactical Hazardous Operations Robot (THOR), developed at RoMeLa, on the cover of Popular Science magazine (left) and in the lab (right). This robot was previously developed by RoMeLa to compete in the 2015 DARPA Robotics Challenge.

As exciting and important as it sounds, building such a cutting-edge humanoid robot is not an easy task (nor inexpensive) and thus we are recruiting you to help!

With your support and belief in our mission, we’ll be able to reach our first funding milestone of $50,000, enough to begin construction on the lower body of the robot. This will allow RoMeLa to start working on ARTEMIS’s ability to walk and run with two legs. When we raise $100,000 through continued fundraising and grants, we can finish building the prototype including ARTEMIS’s upper body, and send our team to RoboCup 2020!

No donation is too small! Even with $5, we can afford the smallest components needed to build robots, such as a box of screws or a bundle of wire.

A computer render of ARTEMIS, A Robot That Exceeds Messi In Soccer, being built with your support!

From kicking a ball to saving lives! Join us on the road to RoboCup 2020 and beyond!


Just because a robot works well inside a laboratory does not necessarily mean that it can operate in the real world. Normally, standard research robots are tested exclusively in structured environments (i.e. inside a laboratory). This prevents researchers from observing real world problems that arise when robots are used in real world applications. RoMeLa has understood the importance of dynamic testing early on and has thus been participating (and winning!) in a number of large-scale international research-based competitions such as RoboCup (World Champions), the DARPA Urban Challenge (3rd Place) and the DARPA Robotics Challenge (Finalist).

RoMeLa is a five-time world champion of RoboCup in the humanoid division and brought the coveted Louis Vuitton Cup to the United States for the first time in 2011. We last took home the championship back in 2015, but have not competed since.

CHARLI: Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Robot with Learning Intelligence developed at RoMeLa, kicking the winning goal at RoboCup 2011.
CHARLI with his prize, the Louis Vuitton Cup!

With a new cutting-edge humanoid robot, ARTEMIS, utilizing this groundbreaking artificial muscle technology, we believe it is time to return to RoboCup. And with your support in building ARTEMIS, UCLA will once again represent the United States in this world-renowned competition, and RoMeLa will be able to showcase our new robot technology that promises to raise the bar on humanoid robots.

If you want robots to reach their full potential, we need your help to take our robots out of the lab and into the real world. We want you to be a part of shaping the future for robotics.

So what is this “artificial muscle” technology that we are all excited about? Here’s a little background on how all of this stuff works…

Humanoid robots, intelligent machines that mimic the form and function of a human being, are conspicuously missing from our day-to-day lives, despite what pop culture has led many to believe. The reality is that humanoid robots have roots in the automation and manufacturing industries, meaning they excel at executing precise motions in controlled environments. However, researchers have found that legged robotics struggle with these tasks in the fluid and relatively imprecise environments that we humans live in. For a robot to exist and work in these spaces, it must be able to react to the environment, not just follow some predefined path.

Recently, RoMeLa has developed a new proprioceptive actuator (like an artificial muscle for robots) that can be programmed to be stiff and precise, or to be loose and flexible. This new actuator technology, called BEAR (Back-drivable Electric Actuator for Robotics), will allow our humanoid to run, jump, and kick, and is exactly what a humanoid would need in order to dynamically get around in the world today.

Test showing adjustable stiffness.
Jumping test on a single motor.
Jumping test on two motor leg.


However, these actuators are custom designed and manufactured in our lab at UCLA, and require a lot of resources that we simply don’t have. By donating to this campaign, you will be directly funding the effort to help RoMeLa compete in Robocup 2020 with the construction of a new humanoid robot made with BEAR technology.


Be a part of the RoMeLa team and help us bring this dream to reality!

Back to Robocup for a second…

RoMeLa's THORwIn scoring a goal in RoboCup 2015.

RoMeLa hasn’t competed in RoboCup since 2015 because we haven’t had a humanoid platform capable of keeping up with the competition. If we can realize our goal, UCLA will be able to get back in the big leagues to duke it out with the top competitors. If we can make this new humanoid a reality, we have high hopes of taking home the championship once again because the new BEAR technology that will power the robot will make it quicker and more agile than the competition.

Although playing soccer may not seem to be the most important task for a robot, the truth is that a robot must be able to kick a ball before it can enter a burning building and potentially save human lives.

An example of how this technology could have saved lives is the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, in which a radiation-resistant humanoid robot could have entered the reactor and averted the reactor meltdown. Unfortunately, there was no such robot, and the effects of this disaster continue to be felt to this day. Currently, there are still no robots that could have averted the disaster, and it is for this reason that RoMeLa is working so hard to advance robotics technologies to truly have robots that can save the world.

Your support also enables UCLA students to achieve their dreams of becoming world-class engineers working on cutting-edge technology. At RoMeLa, we look for brilliant engineering students who, above all else, are genuinely passionate about robotics. You will find students working in the lab at all hours of the day, not because they have to, but because they just love working on robots! Your donation helps us support these UCLA rockstars and allows them to bring their work into the world, keeping UCLA at the forefront of robotics technology.

RoMeLa is a research lab within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCLA consisting of roughly 30 student engineers, researchers, and innovators who have all come together under renowned roboticist Dr. Dennis Hong to push the limits of robotics. We are a passionate group of individuals with a wide range of interests and hobbies, but the one thing that brings us all together is robotics; in particular, the development of legged robotics technology that can assist people around the world. We don't just study robots; we build them from the ground up!

Previous humanoids made at RoMeLa: (left to right) DARwIn-OP, CHARLI, THOR-RD, SAFFiR, and THOR.

We make robots with two, four, and even six legs, all in an attempt to take the world one step closer to the robotic future we all dreamed of as kids. And, while we work tirelessly on our robots to keep them in operational condition, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun every now and then.

The lab also actively participates in STEM outreach activities and is a strong advocate for promoting the STEM fields to the youth and general public. We regularly conduct lab demonstrations for youth groups and classes visiting UCLA, and even take the robots out of the lab from time to time for outreach events.


Join us and together let's kick some balls and save the world!

Our way
of Thanking You


Boot-up Screen

Every donation matters to us! Every time the robot is turned on, your name will be shown on the robot’s screen to honor your contribution! (fully tax deductible)

61 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2020


RoMeLa Sticker

In order to tell the world that you are supporting the future of robotics we will send you a high quality RoMeLa bumper sticker for your $25 donation, and include your name on the boot-up screen. (fully tax deductible)

65 of 200 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Student Shout-out

Your $100 donation is so awesome that we will give you a personal shout-out in a video by one of the students on the RoMeLa Facebook page, and send you all previous perks. (fully tax deductible)

21 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: November 2018


#GivingTuesday Edition Shirt

In celebration of Giving Tuesday, for one day only, as long as it is November 27 anywhere in the world, we will give an additional LIMITED EDITION RoMeLa t-shirt with any donation of $100 or more on top of other perks you are eligible for! This t-shirt is decorated with not only the RoMeLa logo, but also RoMeLa's most popular robot, DARwIn-OP!

7 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019


RoMeLa T-shirt

Your incredible donation of $250 means so much to us that we want to give you one of our lab's awesome T-shirts, plus previous perks! (tax deductible donation of $241.66)

13 of 50 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Robot Demo

You got the golden ticket! A donation of $500 gets you an invitation to a demo and lab tour at RoMeLa in Los Angeles where we will be showing off all of our awesome robots, plus all of the previous perks! (fully tax deductible)

5 of 30 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: April 2019


Honorary Member

Thank you for your amazing donation of $1,000. You are now an official honorary member of RoMeLa and just to make it official we will send you an official RoMeLa membership certificate, plus all of the previous perks! (fully tax deductible)

6 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Dennis Hong Shout-out

For a generous donation of $1,500 Dr. Dennis Hong will give you a personal shout-out on his Facebook page, plus all the previous perks! (fully tax deductible)

0 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: January 2019


Dinner with Dr. Hong

Wow, $2,000 – you’re awesome! To show our appreciation, we’ll treat you to a nice dinner in either either Los Angeles or Seoul, South Korea where you can chat about everything robotics and more all evening with Dr. Hong. Plus, you get all of the previous perks! (a tax deductible donation of $1.930.66)

1 of 10 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: February 2019


Robot Figurine

We will send you a custom miniature figurine of the robot with a personally engraved message manufactured exclusively for you by the team at RoMeLa for a donation of $2,500, plus all of the previous perks! (a tax deductible donation of $2,420.66)

0 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: March 2019


Donor Name on the Robot

With a donation of $5,000 you will be part of this robot forever! On the back of the robot we bring to RoboCup 2020 will be a plaque with all the names of anyone who donated more than $5,000, plus you’ll get all of the previous perks. (fully tax deductible)

1 of Unlimited Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2020


Official RoboCup Team Member

For a donation of $7,500 or more, it is clear that you share our mission. You will officially be joining our team for RoboCup 2020, and if we win, you will also become the world champion! If you’ll cover your own airfare and lodging, RoMeLa will take care of your official RoboCup 2020 registration and include you at every stage of competition. Plus, you’ll get all of the previous perks! (tax deductible donation of $6,905.66)

3 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2020


Company Logo

A company sponsorship of >$10,000 is so big that we want to put your company logo on this new robot and our RoMeLa website! (fully tax deductible)

4 of 5 Claimed
Estimated Delivery: June 2020
Our Crowdfunding Groups