Global Robofest competition features science, engineering experts of tomorrow

SOUTHFIELD – Teams from Illinois, Michigan, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, and South Africa took home the top awards in Saturday’s World Robofest Championship, held on the campus of Lawrence Technological University here.

Nearly 100 teams from around the world competed in a variety of robotic challenges. Lawrence Tech President Virinder Moudgil provided opening remarks, noting that participants are tomorrow’s global leaders in engineering and science. Glen Bauer, Acting Dean of LTU’s College of Arts and Sciences, provided closing remarks.

“It was another great year for Robofest, an event that brings together students from all over the globe in the pursuit of robotic engineering excellence,” said C.J. Chung, professor of computer science at LTU, who founded Robofest in 1999.

Taking home the Toyota first place award in the Senior Game division was a team called Blood, Sweat and Gears from Birmingham’s Roeper School. Second place went to Royal Robots from the Annapolis West Education Centre in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada, while third place went to R&G 9 from the R&G Robot Center in Seoul, South Korea.

In the Junior Game division, the Denso first place award went to Insele Solutions, sponsored by Trophy Computers & Robotics in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Second place went to the Jammin’ Awesome Blockies of Aurora, Ill., and third place went to TX-001-1, a team from Goyang, South Korea.

This year’s Robofest game was called AtBC, for Autonomous Tennis Ball Challenge. Robots were programmed to collect tennis balls off a table and deposit them in a box, while knocking water bottles off the table. Winners were determined by how successful they were at this task in a 2-minute period, with points awarded per ball and bottle.

Robofest also features an Exhibition category, in which students can dream up any task and design a robot to perform it. In the Senior Exhibition category, the Mobis first place award went to Vriot, a team from the Logos Academy in Hong Kong, while second place was earned by GC-Earth, a team from Colegio Gimnasio Campestre in Bogota, Colombia. In the Junior Exhibition category, the Mobis first place award went to TechSisters of the Canton Charter Academy in Canton Township. Second place was earned by Medi-Bot GC, another team from the Colegio Gimnasio Campestre, and third place went to the Tai Po Old Market Public School in Hong Kong.

For a complete list of winners in all categories, visit www.robofest.net/2018/program18all.pdf.

Robofest is a competition to build and program autonomous robots that aren’t remote controlled. There are multiple events created around Robofest, including a conference called WISER (World conference on Integrated STEaM Education through Robotics). Other events surrounding Robofest include a robot drawing contest for grades K-3, a robotic art exhibition, a computer-vision-based robotic challenge, a robotic “sumo wrestling” competition, and more. Competition divisions include grades 5-8 and grades 9-12.

Unlike other competitions, students have a full freedom of using any robotic kits, parts, and sensors.

Since its founding, more than 23,000 students have participated in Robofest events all over the world. More at 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 100 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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