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Detroit students attend Robofest summer camp at Children's Museum

Release Date: July 26, 2021
Robofest.JPG

Robofest director Christopher Cartwright, associate professor of mathematics and computer science at LTU, gives instructions at a pre-pandemic Robofest competition.
LTU file photo.


Students from the Detroit Public Schools Community District’s Bates Academy attended a Robofest day camp at the Detroit Children's Museum Saturday, July 24, with representatives of the university and IBM to learn about robotics and LTU’s long-running robotics competition.

Robofest, the only global robotics competition in the world to go on last year despite the pandemic, will again be an online competition for its 2021 season.

The day’s agenda included a workshop on computer programming of robots and an exhibition competition in Robofest’s BottleSumo competition, a game in which robots are programmed to knock either another robot or a bottle off a table.

Lawrence Tech computer science professor C.J. Chung created Robofest in 1999 as a means of letting students learn about robotics—and the crucial role software development plays in controlling robots. Unlike other robotics competitions, the costs of Robofest are low, with a $50 entrance fee and a robot kit that allows students to compete effectively costing less than $400. Christopher Cartwright, LTU associate professor of mathematics and computer science at LTU, is Robofest director.

Students from teams in Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, Korea, India, Jordan, Macau, Mexico, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States are competing in local and regional qualifiers. They will advance to the 2021 Robofest Online World Championship events, being hosted online through Zoom, from Aug. 20 through Sept. 11.

Included are junior (grades 5-8) and senior (grades 9-12) divisions in several competitions: the Unknown Mission Challenge, in which students don’t learn the task their robot must be programmed to achieve until the day of competition; BottleSumo; RoboMed, in which robots are programmed to accomplish a medical task; RoboArts, in which robots are programmed to offer artistic performances like music or dance; the Game competition, which changes every year to keep the competition fresh; and Exhibition, an open competition in which students may design robots to accomplish any task.

For more information visit www.robofest.net.

Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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