FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Robofest Becomes a National
Southfield, Michigan � Robofest 2003 is Saturday, April 26 at Lawrence
Technological University in Southfield, Michigan. Robofest was started at
Lawrence Tech in 2000, and the number of participants continues to grow each
year. It�s a playful learning environment for science, engineering, and
technology for fifth grade to college students.
of smaller, more modular, and cheaper hardware components has made it possible for
more students to build autonomous robots that integrate mechanical, electrical
and computational components. Registration for Robofest 2003 was closed after
the first 11 hours, because it had surpassed the maximum number of teams (70)
that could be accommodated. A waiting list was formed.
serve teams on the waiting list, Cranbrook Institute of Science is hosting an
additional site at The
Dexter-Elmhurst Family and Community Center, 11825
Dexter Ave., in Detroit, also on April 26. More than 300 students have registered for the event.
Not only has the popularity of Robofest
grown in Michigan, it also is expanding to other states. RoboTech Center in
Nashua, New Hampshire will host Robofest 2003 May 4th. There will be
a new award category �Robofest National Championship� which will be determined
by the best completion time of all the robot missions.
While there are other robot competitions, Robofest is unique in
be fully autonomous -- no remote controls allowed.
Emphasis on learning computer technology.
first K-12 robotics contest in which the dimensions of the playing field are
unknown. Robost must use feedback loop control, which requires sensors and
adaptive logic in their programs.�
There are two ways to participate; competition or exhibition.
Students are free to choose their programming language: RCX code,
RoboLab, NQC, C++, Visual Basic, or Java.
This year�s K-12 Robofest
mission requires robots to simulate the repair of the reactor containment
structure in a nuclear power plant. The first robot drops items representing
�radioactive shielding� into a containment structure. The second robot pushes a
simulated �concrete barricade� up to the containment structure to shut off
possible radioactivity from the reactor.
A new twist in the 2003
competition is that one of the game rules will be unknown by the participants
until the day of competition. A special award goes to the team that solves the
whole problem for the first time. Proctors will watch to see if direct help is
given to any of the teams.
college division competition at LTU will simulate a situation in which an
autonomous Lawrence Tech laptop robot must navigate around various obstacles
while staying in between two dashed lines. Teams from the Computer Science and
Computer Engineering Department are constructing robot hardware and developing
software, using theories such as fuzzy logic control, artificial neural
networks, computer vision, and evolutionary computation.
The robotics exhibition
portion of Robofest is a great way for students to show off their creativity.
Each team has complete freedom to create an autonomous robot, such as robot
pets, robot artists, dancing robots, storytelling with robots, robots for
scientific experiments, and practical robotics applications. At the LTU
location, Lawrence Tech computer science students will introduce a laptop robot
tennis game and two laptop robot helpers.
is made possible through support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the
Department of Math and Computer Science. Blue
Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) www.bcbsm.com has been an active supporter since 2000, and is the premier sponsor of Robofest 2003.
Research Into Internet Systems (RIIS) www.riis.com is a new sponsor this
Robofest admission is free and everyone is welcome. The opening
ceremony is planned to begin at 10 a.m. at the LTU and Detroit sites.
If you have any questions about Robofest, or would like to join
in, visit www.robofest.net
or call 248.204.3504.
A sample course