Lawrence Tech Hosts Robofest World Championship May 18

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SOUTHFIELD — Seventy teams will compete in the Robofest World Championship on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Ridler Field House, Lawrence Technological University, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, Southfield. Admission and parking are free.

Robofest is a competition of autonomous robots — computer-programmed to act independently and not remote-controlled — that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of science, technology, engineering, and math, known as the STEM subjects. Teams compete in the junior division (grades 5-9) or senior division (grades 9-12), using a variety of computer programming languages.

This year Robofest has attracted more than 1,600 students on 550 teams from eight states — Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Hawaii, California and Louisiana — and five other countries — Canada, Mexico, Korea, China and India.

“To compete in the World Championship is not easy. These teams had to qualify at one of the many regional competitions,” said LTU Computer Science Professor CJ Chung, who started Robofest in 2000.

Michigan teams that have qualified from the World Championship are from Canton, Imlay City, Superior Township, Westland, Adrian, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Macomb Township, Northville, Rockford, Troy, and Detroit. 

This year’s game is SRCC, which stands for search, rescue, clean up and collect data. The mission is to search for and rescue people trapped in a black box from a tower, clean up white toxic boxes from the contaminated area, and measure the size of the contaminated area in square millimeters. This challenge reinforces STEM learning.

Robofest is different from most other robotics competitions because all of the game’s robotic tasks  require teams to use math skills such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry.

Winners in the Robofest World Championship will be awarded scholarships to LTU as well as various prizes donated by sponsors.

In addition to the game, there will be a science fair-style exhibition competition, which will demonstrate the imagination and creativity of the students through robotics.

An advanced competition category, VCRC (Vision Centric Robot Challenge) has attracted five college teams from the United States, China, and Brazil and three local high school teams. Vision-based autonomous robot vehicles must maneuver through an obstacle course. This challenge enables students to learn core technologies for self-driving cars.

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. Bloomberg Businessweek lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 20 percent of universities for return on undergraduate tuition investment and highest in the Detroit metropolitan area.  Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student clubs and organizations and a growing roster of NAIA varsity sports.

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