LTU’s Robofest crowns winners from around the world

SOUTHFIELD—Teams from Hong Kong, Ghana, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, as well as Ann Arbor, Farmington Hills and Rochester in Michigan, claimed first place prizes in Lawrence Technological University’s Robofest competition, a global robotics competition that has continued operations during the entire pandemic.

The winners were announced in a global online awards ceremony Saturday.

Winning both the senior (grades 9-12) and junior (grades 6-8) Game competition, “StackRolls”, was Team R&G Robot from Seoul, South Korea. It’s the first time one organization has swept both senior and junior game competitions in Robofest’s 21-year history.

Winning the senior Exhibition competition, in which students dream up a task for a robot to accomplish, and then design a robot to accomplish it, was Team Logos Dream Catcher from HKCCCU Logos Academy in Hong Kong. The junior competition was won by Team Steamfun4kids from Ann Arbor.

In the fun BottleSumo Time Trial competition, in which teams try to push a number of bottles off a table in the fastest time, the Senior Classic winner was Chingshin Academy in Taipei, Taiwan. The Senior Unlimited winner was Team Cobra from St. Paul’s School in Hong Kong. The junior winner was Arabots Chancla from Arabots Robotics in Toluca, Mexico.

In Robofest during the pandemic, competitions were held online, with judges applying scoring rubrics and determining winners based on videos of competition, just as they would be scored in person. Other competitions included RoboArts, in which competitors designed a robot that gave an artistic performance; Unknown Mission Challenge, in which competitors weren’t told the task their robot would have to achieve until competition day; and RoboMed, in which teams designed a robot to perform a medical task.

Other winners included:

  • Junior RoboArts, ArtBots Team, St. Antonius Primary School, Hong Kong
  • Senior RoboArts, The Shadow, Chiu Chow Association Secondary School, Hong Kong
  • Junior Unknown Mission Challenge, Team STEAM Bots, Farmington Hills, Mich
  • Senior Unknown Mission Challenge, Mikrobot Academy, Accra, Ghana
  • College RoboMed, Team Mexatech, Universidad Autnoma del Estado de Hidalgo, Hidalgo, Mexico
  • Senior RoboMed, Team League of Lesions, SMART Labs, Rochester, Mich.

“The level of competition for 2021 was simply fantastic, and we’re proud of all the teams that participated this year despite the challenges of the pandemic,” said Christopher Cartwright, Robofest director, a professor of mathematics and computer science at LTU.

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 $75 entrance fee and a robot kit costing less than $400 required to compete.

Since its creation, some 30,000 elementary, middle school, high school, and college students have participated in Robofest competitions, representing dozens of nations around the world. This year, more than 800 students from five U.S. states, four Canadian provinces, and 18 other countries participated: Colombia, Dubai, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Jordan, Macau, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates.

Robofest is tentatively planning a return to in-person competitions for 2022, beginning in February, with a world championship weekend of various events May 12-14, 2022 at Lawrence Tech’s Southfield campus.

Jay Jessen, assistant director of LTU’s Marburger STEM Center, served as master of ceremonies for the Oct. 2 event. Tarek Sobh, LTU’s provost and chief academic officer, provided remarks and presented sponsor and special awards.

Lawrence Technological University,, 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, 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 100 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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