news center

Robofest gets kids excited about computer science and technology

Release Date: February 7, 2008

Southfield, Mich. – Time is running out for students in grades 5-12 to prepare for the World Robofest 2008 Competition that culminates in the April 26 championship round at Lawrence Technological University.

Robofest is a competition of autonomous robots – programmed to act independently and not radio-controlled – that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of computer science, math, technology and physical science. Students design, construct and program the robots, and adult coaches are not allowed to assist during the events.

Last year 1,400 students competed in Robofest, including teams from Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore. This year teams from England and France will be competing.

The first round of the competition will be held throughout March and April at 30 qualifying sites in Michigan. Top teams in the first round will compete in the world championship competition at Lawrence Tech. Teams compete in the junior division (grades 5-9) and senior division (grades 9-12).

Teachers and coaches can go to to review the rules, find a nearby qualifying site and sign up. The registration deadline is 14 days before the competition date at each site. Many teams have already registered, so it is important to sign up soon in order to get a spot at the most convenient qualifying site.

The last informational meeting for new teams will be Saturday, Feb. 16, from 9-10 a.m. in room M218 of the Buell Building at Lawrence Tech. A hands-on NXT programming workshop will follow from 10 a.m. to noon. To register for this free workshop, please email

This year students will compete in the following categories:

  • Games. Students undertake robotic missions with two autonomous robots programmed to work cooperatively.
  • Exhibition. Students demonstrate the creative tasks they have designed and programmed their autonomous robots to accomplish.
  • RoboSumo. Push the other robot out of the Sumo ring!
  • RoboFashion Show. Teams of two robots will show off their costumes and dance moves.
  • Mini Urban Challenge. Senior-level contestants use machine vision to enable a laptop-based robot to maneuver through a course simulating an urban road environment.
  • Pentathlon. Robot teams can participate in five field events using VEX robots.
  • Bridge Battle (Associate Event). VEX robots obtain the most points possible on a 12-foot-square field with a bridge.

All registered participants receive medals and framed certificates. Winners of the qualifying and championship rounds receive big trophies. Senior division winners in four categories will earn $2,000 annual renewable scholarships at Lawrence Tech, as well as other prizes donated by sponsors.

Admission to all Robofest competition sites is free. For more information, call (248) 204-3566 or email

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 60 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe and Asia.