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BEST Robotics Game Day Competition
set for Oct. 31

October 21, 2009 -- The fourth annual BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Game Day Competition on the Arkansas State University campus will take place Saturday, Oct. 31., from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in Centennial Hall of ASU’s Reng Student Services Center/ Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro.

BEST Robotics Game Day is the culmination of an annual six-week competition taking place during September and October. The mission of BEST is to introduce young people to educational and vocational opportunities in technology. More than 10,000 students across the nation participated in the program last year. BEST is a non-profit program and is provided free of charge to participating schools via donations of money, materials, and labor.

Students from 17 schools in the Jonesboro area and the surrounding region have designed and built robots as part of the nationwide BEST Robotics program. Participating schools include Arkansas Northeastern College Secondary Center, Buffalo Island Central High School, Hamburg High School, Hillcrest High School, Hughes High School, Jonesboro Magnet School for Math and Science, Mammoth Spring High School, Maynard High School, MidSouth Community College, Osceola Communication, Arts, and Business School, Paragould High School, Ridgefield Christian School, Tuckerman High School, West Memphis Christian School, Westside High School, White Station High School, and Williford High School.

The 2009 contest theme is “High Octane” and involves the collection of raw materials used in chemical reactions to create fuels. The robots, which can have no dimension larger than 24” or weigh more than 24 lbs., must move quickly enough over the game arena (24' x 24') to complete their assigned tasks—the pickup, transportation, and delivery of raw materials-- within three minutes.

The teams convened earlier in September to collect their materials for building the robots, and met again for a trial run of their robots later in September. The teams will convene for the final time on Game Day, Saturday, Oct. 31. On Game Day, robots will compete in a series of three-minute matches, with repairs and adjustments being made between matches. While the robots compete, 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; an oral defense of their project before a panel of judges; sportsmanship and spirit (up to and including bringing cheerleaders and bands); and finally the performances of the robots themselves. Awards will be made in a number of different categories.

ASU's Department of Computer Science began hosting this competition locally in 2006. ASU's College of Engineering also contributes substantial assistance. Sponsors include Acxiom Corporation, Barton's of Arkansas and Missouri, and Missouri, Hytrol Conveyor Co., Dr. James Phillips, the Kays Foundation, the ASU Department of Computer Science, the ASU Office of Academic Affairs and Research, the ASU College of Engineering, the ASU College of Sciences and Mathematics, J. T. White Hardware and Lumber, and the Mall at Turtle Creek.

Information about BEST Robotics’ nationwide endeavors is available at Local contest information is detailed at For more information, contact ASU's contest director, Dr. E. T. Hammerand at (870) 680-8109 or e-mail


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