LTU’s Robofest returns to in-person competition for 2022 with environmental theme

SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University’s Robofest robotics competition will return to in-person events for its 2022 competition season, leading up to the Robofest World Championships to be held on LTU’s Southfield campus May 12-14, 2022.

Robofest kicked off its 23rd annual season Wednesday, Dec. 8 in a Zoom call with teachers, students, and volunteers from around the world.

All Robofest robots must be completely autonomous in accomplishing their tasks, and no adult assistance is permitted in competitions. Robofest is an affordable robotics competition, with a $75 entry fee and robot kits starting at about $400.

Robofest will feature seven different competitions for 2022. The most popular, the Robofest Game, changes each year. This year’s challenge is called OceanBots. Robots must rescue objects representing “turtles” and place them in one area on a game table, while moving other objects representing “trash” to a different location. They must also place two of the “turtles” onboard the robot, and maneuver around “pilings” placed on the game table.

Other competitions will include:

  • Exhibition, in which students are free to dream up any task that a robot can accomplish, and then design a robot to accomplish it. There’s a four-minute limit on presentations, and students must provide a video of their robot before the competition so judges can formulate questions.
  • RoboArts, which is similar to Exhibition, but robots should be focused on the visual and performing arts.
  • RoboMed, a competition for intelligent and interactive biomedical robots and medical devices with an entrepreneurial mindset encouraged.
  • Unknown Mission Challenge, in which students must design and program robots to accomplish a task that they won’t be told about until competition day. The robot must be completely unassembled when competition starts.
  • BottleSumo, in which students compete to be the first robot to push a bottle of water—or the opposing robot—off a table.
  • RoboParade, in which students build and decorate robots to impress judges in a parade focused around a common theme. This year’s theme is “Preserve Our Natural Resources.”

Team registration begins Dec. 17. Maximum team size is three for BottleSumo, four for the Unknown Mission Challenge, and five for all other events. Regional competitions will be held around the world in the early months of 2022, with winners advancing to the world championships at LTU. There will also be a second-chance competition at LTU in April to qualify for the world championships. Online competition options are also available. Students compete in junior (grades 5-8) and senior (grades 9-12) categories, except for RoboMed, which also has a college division.

Robofest participants are eligible for a $3,000-a-year, four-year scholarship to LTU.

LTU computer science professor CJ Chung established Robofest in 1999 to foster interest and excitement in computer science and, more broadly, education and careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics—the STEAM disciplines. LTU mathematics professor Christopher Cartwright is now Robofest director, and LTU has hired three employees to manage the competition, demonstrating the University’s commitment to K-12 STEAM education. LTU has also hired four part-time student assistants for the 2022 competition season. There are also many volunteer opportunities for educators or those in STEAM careers. More than 30,000 students worldwide have competed in Robofest since 1999.

For more information, visit the Get Involved tab 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 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 alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest. 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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