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BEST Robotics Game
Day set for Oct. 20

October 15, 2007 -- O
n Saturday, Oct. 20, robots will invade the ASU National Guard Armory as the annual six-week BEST Robotics Competition culminates in Game Day. Setup for Game Day begins in the armory at 10 a.m., the opening ceremony begins at 1 p.m., and Game Day ends at 6 p.m.

This year's BEST Robotics Game Day competition, "Mars 2021: A Robot Odyssey," involves traveling across a 24-foot by 24-foot game arena from a starting position, collecting one or more storage containers, and moving them to the finish position, all within three minutes. The game arena's 12-foot by 12-foot center is raised 12 inches above ground level and is accessible only by ramp; consequently, a robot must move quickly and effectively over the course in order to score. Each team must devise its own strategy as to how many containers to carry at a time and how many trips to make.

Described as a combination basketball game/chess match/obstacle course/science fair, Game Day allows teams from eight participating schools and their robots to compete in a series of three-minute matches, with repairs and adjustments being made between the matches. Although the performance of the robots themselves is the most significant component of the judging, there are many other criteria that recognize team accomplishments.

While the robots are competing, the teams will also be in competition for the BEST Award. The BEST Award is judged on the basis of an engineering notebook detailing teams' efforts in building the robots in well-written narrative form and a 10-foot by 10-foot table display promoting the marketing of the team's robot to consumers, using clever presentations and promotional giveaways. Sportsmanship and school spirit will also be observed and scored by the judges during the robot competition. Teams assisting one another in various ways can score highly in this category, as can teams demonstrating spirit by bringing bands and cheerleaders.

Two days prior to Game Day, judges will have received and begun evaluating each school's engineering notebook; this notebook details the development of the team's robot with a well-written narrative. On Game Day, each school will set up a 10' x 10' table display, marketing their robot to the public; clever presentations and promotional giveaways are staples of this effort.

BEST Robotics' emphasis on academics is reflected in the scoring for the BEST Award: evaluation of the notebook amounts to 40%, the table display is another 33%, spirit & sportsmanship is 20%, while the robot performance is only 7%. It is entirely possible to compete very effectively for the BEST Award with a robot that has broken down on Game Day and cannot complete the competition.

In addition to trophies based on academics, awards will also be made in a number of other categories as well: Founders' Award for Creative Design, Most Robust Machine, Outstanding Team Web Page Design, Most Elegant Machine, Most Photogenic Machine, Outstanding T-shirt Design, and the Top Gun Award, for most points scored in a single round.

Three teams from Jonesboro will move on to the regional finals at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith on December 1:  the first place winner of the robot competition together with the first-place and second-place recipients of the BEST Award. The regional finals in Fort Smith are one of only three such regional competitions across the nation.

Information about BEST nationwide is available at; locally, the contest is detailed at ASU's BEST contest director, Dr. E. T. Hammerand, can be reached at (870) 972-3978 or

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