Sixty-eight teams from Michigan will compete in the Robofest Michigan Championships on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Don Ridler Field House, Lawrence Technological University, 21000 West 10 Mile Road, Southfield. Admission and parking are free for this event.
Robofest is a competition of autonomous robots – computer-programmed to act independently and not remote-controlled – that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of science, technology, engineering, and math, known as the STEM subjects. Teams compete in the junior division (grades 5-9) or senior division (grades 9-12), using a variety of computer programming languages.
Robofest was originated by LTU Professor CJ Chung in 2000. This year’s competition includes more than 1,600 students from Michigan and nine other states (Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Hawaii, California, Missouri, Indiana and Washington) and seven other countries (Canada, Mexico, Korea, China, India, South Africa and France).
To earn the right to compete at the state championships, teams had to do well at the local qualifying competitions that were held around Michigan in March and April. Teams competing in the Robofest Michigan Championships are from Bloomfield Hills, Farmington Hills, Waterford, Detroit, Rochester Hills, Troy, Clawson, Sterling Heights, Canton, Macomb Township, Adrian, Northville, Ida, Port Huron, Washington, Clinton Township, Berkley, Novi, Mayville, and Lowell.
Teams that succeed at the Michigan Championships will advance the 2014 Robofest World Championships at LTU on Saturday, May 17.
Robofest gives teams a problem to solve using their robots. This year’s game, “Avoid Meltdown,” requires a robot to perform certain tasks at a fictitious power plant represented by a playing field on a 32 inch by 72 inch tabletop. Teams must program their robots to independently deliver three water balls and a special ball into the plant without any help from the coaches. They also must remove two concrete blocks (AA batteries) – all in two minutes.
Thirty minutes before the competition starts teams are given certain dimensions of the plant, which will aid them in programming the robot to drop the balls into the correction location.
Also part of Michigan Championships is the Exhibition category, a science fair-style competition, in which students demonstrate their imagination and creativity through robotics.
For more information on Robofest, visit www.robofest.net.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 7 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment, and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area. Lawrence Tech is also listed in the top tier of Midwestern universities by U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review. Students benefit from small class sizes and experienced faculty who provide a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.