Teams from Ghana, Hong Kong, Jordan, Mexico, Taiwan, USA take top spots at Lawrence Tech’s Robofest World Championships

SOUTHFIELD—More than 500 students on nearly 100 teams from all over the world competed Saturday at Lawrence Technological University in the 25th annual Robofest World Championships, a robotics competition like no other.

Teams from Ghana, Hong Kong, Jordan, Mexico, Taiwan, and Michigan and Florida in the United States took home trophies for top spots in several competitions held at LTU’s Don Ridler Field House.

And members of the top three teams in the Senior divisions of the event, for grades 9-12, took home something a lot more valuable—scholarship offers from Lawrence Tech. First place finishers took home a certificate worth $80,000 in LTU scholarships over four years. Second place finishers got a certificate worth $64,000, and third place finishers’ scholarship offers were for $56,000.

Robofest, created at LTU in 1999 by computer science professor C.J. Chung, was recently added to the list of eligible providers on the Michigan Department of Education 99h Robotics Competition Grants for Public and Private Schools, making Michigan schools eligible for grants to fund participation in Robofest.

Robofest differs from other robotics competitions with low barriers to entry—the entry fee is just $75, and teams can use any robot platform, most of which can be purchased for less than $400. All Robofest competition categories feature robots controlled only by software, which is closer to how robots operate in real-world settings, as opposed to robots that are remote-controlled by people.

World Championship teams qualified for the event at regional competitions in 22 countries and nine U.S. states held between November 2023 and April 2024.

A Robofest team from Taiwan watches as their robot “taxi” delivers “passengers” to their destinations.

Winners in the events contested Saturday were:

Senior Game division: first place, Just Right, Cheng Yi Senior High Schol, Kaohsiung, Taiwan; second place, ANAPEF, Prempeh College, Kumasi, Ghana; and third place, T.A.C.O.S., Divertrobots Atlacomulco, Atlacomulco, Mexico.

Junior (grades 5-8) Game division: first place, RoboRazors, Alhassad Altarbawi Schools, Amman, Jordan; second place, Tetrahedrons, Mikrobot Academy, Accra, Ghana; and third place, Beach Bums Jr., Manoogian School, Southfield, Mich.

Senior Exhibition division: first place, SmartHome Hub, PTHS, Taiwan; second place, C3-Masterminds, Smart Labs, Rochester, Mich.; and third place, InnoFYW, CCC Fong Yun Wah Secondary School, Hong Kong.

Junior Exhibition Division: First place, Dreamer, Creative Robotics Center, Taiwan; second place, Star Club Scientist, PLK Camoes Tan Siu Lin Primary School, Jong Kong; and third place, Robocats Medium Tigers, Belleview Middle School, Belleview, Fla.

Senior RoboArts: First place, Visual Music Z, Preparatoria 1 UAEH, Pachuca, Mexico; second place, Arts@ChanWong, Yan Oi Tong Chan Wong Suk Fong Memorial Secondary School, Hong Kong.

Junior RoboArts: First Place, RoPetra, IEC, Amman, Jordan; second place, Robomuses, Roeper School, Birmingham, Mich.

Senior Vision Centric Challenge: First place, Arabots Tucho, Arabots Robotics, Metepec, Mexico; second place, CCASS VCC, Chiu Chow Association Secondary School, Hong Kong.

Robofest’s popular Game competition changes every year to challenge competitors. This year’s game was calle “Autonomous Taxi.” The robot simulates a self-driving taxi that earned points as it picked up and delivered “people” and a “food order” (represented by different colored golf balls) to different “building locations” (six-by-eight-inch cardboard boxes) around a tabletop game field, while obeying stop signs and avoiding “pedestrians.” Some delivery locations are known to the players, while one is either unveiled 30 minutes prior to the run, or even determined on the fly by the robot reading a barcode on the field.  In addition, the taxi can earn more points if it can deliver one of the “people” to a second floor in a building, and complete a math task, all within a two-minute run.

Robofest’s Exhibition is an open-ended event in which competitors think up any problem, task or service that can be solved or performed by a robot, and then design, build and program a robot to accomplish it.

In the Vision Centric Challenge, which returned after a four-year absence thanks to a partnership with LSM Systems Engineering in Waterford Township, Mich., robots accomplish quality inspection challenges in a simulated manufacturing environment using advanced machine vision.

And in RoboArts, students design, build, and program a robot that makes an artistic performance, such as dance, music or storytelling.

Last Thursday and Friday, before Saturday’s events, students competed in Robofest’s other events:

* RoboMed, in which students can dream up a healthcare service or biomedical device that can be performed by a robot—and then design, build, and program a robot to render that service.

* RoboParade, in which robots are creatively designed to express a theme, and must follow a path along a tabletop “parade route.” This year’s theme was “On the Farm,” inspired by the United Dairy Farmers of Michigan.

* Bottle Sumo, in which robots climb a ramp and battle on a six-foot table to knock either their opponent or a water bottle off the table first.

* The Unknown Mission Challenge,  in which competitors don’t know what task they will have to program their robot to complete until the day of competition.

For a complete list of winners, or for more information on participating in next year’s Robofest, visit www.robofest.net .

Patrick Nelson, dean of the Lawrence Technological University College of Arts and Sciences, welcomes the Robofest competitors and their families to campus.

At the event, Lisa Kujawa, LTU vice president of enrollment management and outreach, and Patrick Nelson, dean of the LTU College of Arts and Sciences, congratulated the competitors, and asked them to consider LTU among their college choices.

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. 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 list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. 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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