SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – The Michigan Championship of Robofest is coming to Lawrence Technological University in Southfield on Saturday, May 13. Some 90 teams that advanced from 12 Michigan qualifying events will vie for state championships – and spots in the Robofest World Championship, being held in St. Pete Beach, Fla., June 1-3.
The state championship will begin at 9 a.m. with opening ceremonies. Awards presentations and closing ceremonies will take place at 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. The venue is LTU’s Don Ridler Field House in Southfield. Ample free parking is available in nearby lots. For directions, visit www.ltu.edu/map.
Those attending who wish to register may serve as judges for People’s Choice Awards, and will be entered into a raffle for prizes, including a Google Home system and other electronics.
Teams attending the event are from Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Berkley, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, Canton Township, Chelsea, Detroit, Hartland Township, Lake Orion, Macomb Township, Northville, Novi, Rochester, Southfield, St. Clair, Sterling Heights, Troy, Warren, West Bloomfield Township, and Westland. A team from Naperville, Ill. will also participate. Teams compete in junior (grades 5-8), senior (grades 9-12) and college divisions.
Robofest is a competition of autonomous robots – computer-programmed to act independently, not remote-controlled – that encourages students to master principles of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by focusing on computer science and programming. This year’s Robofest game is called RoboHit. Modeled on baseball, it challenges students to build a small autonomous robot that can swing a pencil like a baseball bat – and hit a ping-pong ball over a foot-high fence six feet away.
Lawrence Tech Provost Maria Vaz will make opening and closing remarks at the state championships. Vaz, who was named Lawrence Tech’s chief academic officer in 2006, said Robofest “is exactly the kind of competition we need to help fill an anticipated talent shortage in the STEM fields. At Robofest, kids get excited about science, math and engineering, and see how much fun it can be.”
Robofest was founded by LTU Computer Science Professor CJ Chung in 1999. The program involves more than 2,500 students a year from 11 countries around the world.
“In Robofest, students have to think a lot more to make robots think,” Chung said.
For more information, visit www.robofest.net.