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 Inspired by Engineering

Last Saturday, I spent a big chunk of my day at the Robofest World Championships.
Held at Lawrence Technological University, in Southfield, MI., Robofest is a robotics competition designed to promote and support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for students in grades 5-12.

The two-day competition saw teams from all over the world, including South Korea, Mexico, Canada, and the United States compete for prizes and recognition.

The challenge is to design and build robots to compete in various categories, being:

  • Game Competition
  • Exhibitiion
  • RoboFashsion & Dance
  • Vision Centric Robot Challenge
  • nVn RoboSumo
  • Hexapod RoboSumo
  • Bottle RoboSumo
  • RoboParade

The event is in constant motion.
Judges are moving from exhibit to exhibit. Competitors are taking their robots back and forth as they try to solve programming challenges.

As I walked the floor viewing the exhibits, some kids simply grabbed me and pulled me over to their tables, anxious to give me a demonstration and talk about their projects. Austin Heidrich, from Texas, gave me a wonderful articulate demonstration of his Star Wars themed robots as they battled and responded to light sensors in his light saber.

The People’s Choice Award went to an absolutely great exhibit from a  team that traveled all the way from South Korea. Their exhibit pitted bad food vs. good food. With their entry being able to distinguish between the two. The little kid dressed up as a hamburger was hilarious.

There was a robotics cops and robbers bicycle chase, robots retrieving snacks for busy owners, robots working with angry birds. All light sensor driven.

An all-girls Irish themed team won first place in their division of FashionDance. Their robots, complete with little legs that moved, danced and moved along with them during their dance presentation.

It was great to see the creativity and thought pouring out of these young minds. Who knows what one of the young engineers in this room may go on to create. If you get the opportunity, Robofest is a definite event to attend.




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2 Responses to Technology for the Grade-School Ages

  1. Sounds fascinating! I’m really sorry I missed it.

  2. Gordon and others: Here’s a “second chance”
    Channel 56 quote: Detroit Public TV captured the 2012 FIRST in Michigan Robotics State Championship at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti on April 14, 2012. — On Thursday, May 31st at 8pm the 2012 FIRST in Michigan Robotics State Championship game will be Live on DPTV Channel 56 or Streaming here live at

    My son works with a robotics club from Brighton HS. He works at GM’s Proving Grounds, Milford, and GM has committed space there next season for his work. Robotics for young people seems to be gathering momentum around the country. Great training because it involves computer design of some sort, and hands-on activities that demonstrate results.