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Wright Museum hosts Robofest competition



DETROIT – Seventeen teams from the Metro Detroit area will compete in a regional competition round of Robofest on Saturday, April 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, 315 East Warren, Detroit.

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 to program robots.

Teams from Detroit, Birmingham, Ferndale, Sterling Heights, Southfield and Canton will compete in the regional competition at the Wright Museum.

Trophy winners at this competition will advance to the Robofest Michigan Championship on Saturday, May 3, at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield. The Robofest 2014 World Championship will be held at LTU on Saturday, May 17. (Go to for more details.)

Lawrence Technological University computer science professor, CJ Chung, started Robofest in 2000 to promote STEM and computer science through robotics. This year it has attracted more than 1,600 students from ten states (Michigan, Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, Florida, Hawaii, California, Missouri, Indiana and Washington) and seven other countries (Canada, Mexico, Korea, China, India, South Africa and France).

This year’s game mission, AMD (Avoid Melt-Down), is to develop an autonomous robot to cool down a nuclear power plant by dropping off three tennis balls and an egg representing water containers into a simulated nuclear reactor box facing a meltdown. In addition, the robot needs to measure and report the volume of the box in cubic centimeters. The challenge directly connects math concepts to robotics.

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

Robofest team members and attendees can visit the “Inspiring Minds” exhibit free of charge and may tour the rest of the Wright Museum for an $8 entry fee.

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