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BEST Robotics competition's annual
Mall Day slated for Oct. 6
Sept. 28, 2007 --
On Saturday, Oct. 6, robots are coming to the Mall
at Turtle Creek.
These robots are part of the nationwide BEST (Boosting Engineering,
Science, and Technology) Robotics, Inc. program, a robotics competition
for middle school and high school students, and the robots at the Mall
at Turtle Creek will have been designed and constructed by students from
seven schools in the Jonesboro area and one school from southern
Participating schools are Buffalo Island Central High School, Annie Camp
Junior High School, Jonesboro Area Technical Center, Ridgefield
Christian School, Newport High School, Greene County Tech, the Jonesboro
Math and Science Magnet School, and Crossett High School.
BEST’s mission is to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering,
science, technology, and math through participation in a sports-like
science- and engineering-based robotics competition.
Dr. E. T. Hammerand, of the Department of Computer Science at Arkansas
State University, and the Crowley’s Ridge BEST Hub director, says, "The
mission of BEST is to introduce young people to educational and
vocational opportunities in technology that they might not encounter
until much later, if at all; this is accomplished through an annual
six-week competition taking place in September and October. BEST is a
non-profit program and is provided free of charge to participating
schools by way of donations of money, materials, and labor from our
sponsors. ASU's Department of Computer Science began hosting this
competition locally in 2006; over 10,000 students participated
Area sponsors of the local effort include the Acxiom Corporation,
Barton's of Arkansas and Missouri, Hytrol Conveyor Co., J. T. White
Hardware & Lumber, and the Kays Foundation. ASU's College of Engineering
also contributes substantial assistance, providing labor and
professional expertise to construct this year’s game arena. Faculty
members and students from the Department of Computer Science and the
Department of Mathematics and Statistics, as well as members of various
student organizations, also assist.
This year's participating schools convened in Jonesboro on Saturday,
Sept. 8, to be introduced to this year's problem and to collect their
materials; no other materials may be used in the construction of the
robot. On Saturday, Oct. 6, the school teams will convene for the second
time at the Mall at Turtle Creek to test drive their robots in the game
arena and to spy on one another (a deliberate portion of the
competition). Mall Day events begin at 10 a.m. and run through 12 p.m.
Measurement equipment is allowed, as is photo or video equipment.
The 2007 contest theme is "Mars 2021: A Robot Odyssey" and involves the
transportation of materials from a space vehicle's landing platform to
storage containers nearby. The robots, which can have no dimension
larger than 24 inches or weigh more than 24 pounds, must move quickly
enough over the game arena (which measures 24 feet by 24 feet) to
complete the pickup, transportation, and delivery within three minutes.
The teams will return home with the experience of the Oct. 6 Mall Day to
continue development for the next two weeks.
The teams will convene the final time on Game Day, Saturday, Oct. 20, at
the ASU National Guard Armory. Teams will be judged on the basis of an
engineering notebook detailing their efforts, a table display promoting
the marketing of their robots to consumers; sportsmanship and spirit (up
to and including bringing cheerleaders and bands); and finally the
performance of the robot itself. Awards will be made in a number of
different categories. Game Day setup begins at 10 a.m., the opening
ceremony begins at 1 p.m., and the game ends at 6 p.m.
Information about BEST Robotics, Inc.’s nationwide effort is
http://www.bestinc.org. For local
information, the contest is detailed at
For more information, contact ASU's contest director, Dr. E. T.
Hammerand, at (870)972-3978 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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