The Edmond Sun
Thirty-five robotics teams from eight area competitions will be in Fort Smith on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 for the 2012 Frontier Trails BEST Regional Robotics Competition, hosted by the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Convention Center.
The teams represent local hub competitions in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. They advanced to the regional event from their local competitions and will meet for this round of the competition activities at the Fort Smith Convention Center, said John Martini of Fort Smith, assistant professor at the university and director of the competition.
Oklahoma schools participating include: Heartland BEST of Alva, Perry Public Schools of Perry; Deer Creek High School of Edmond, Oklahoma City Homeschool of Oklahoma City, Lawton Academy of Arts & Sciences of Lawton and Muldrow/Gans Public Schools of Muldrow.
“Teams will begin arriving on Nov. 29,” Martini said, “and we have a very full schedule for the students who are visiting our city and our campus. The official opening ceremony for the robot game is at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, with an ending awards ceremony at 5 p.m. This is a great event and something that the whole family would enjoy.”
Martini said there is no admission charge.
“This is an event the entire community is invited to attend,” he said. “You can come out at any time during the competition on either day. Some people spend the entire day with us. Once you’re there, you’re hooked. The competition is very exciting.”
Each team designs and operates its own robot with a kit of materials supplied for the task, based on this year’s theme, Warp XX. The theme is based on using a space elevator to re-supply a “mid-way station” at the edge of the earth’s atmosphere.
The robotics competitions are sponsored across the nation under the BEST heading, which stands for Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology. The competition started in 1994, and UAFS has participated since 2003.
The teams are given points in several categories, with the highest-level award, the BEST Award, going to the top overall team that most embodies the concept of BEST. An award is also given to the team scoring highest in the robot portion of the event. Other awards are given for notebooks, table displays, interview, web page designs, T-shirt designs and spirit and sportsmanship.