Harrisburg University, Harrisburg
On Saturday, March 23, 2013, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology will be hosting their Third Annual Robotics Competition in cooperation with Pennbots, The Robot Club of Pennsylvania, beginning at 10 AM.
At this competition, there will be thinking robots set to compete in maze navigation and line following races using only their onboard programming and sensors to guide them to the finish line. There will also be radio controlled robot competitions, where the robots will fight in three different weight classes: 150 gram, 1 pound, and 3 pounds. An arena has been constructed with transparent polycarbonate armor surrounding the fighting ring so spectators and operators are able to watch and stay protected. “This is really not about the competition,” says Patrick Young, Admissions Academic Program Coordinator at Harrisburg University and one of the organizers of the event. “It’s about getting people, especially young people, together so they can share their enthusiasm for science and technology.”
Young has been building robots of his own for years. “I started building small robots back in the 90’s when you could still watch Battlebots on TV. My students thought it was cool so I started working on them after school so they could help.” As his students became more independent in the building of their own robots, they decided to join the Pennbots informal competitions where they could all compete as a team. “Unlike other competitions the builders are not required to buy parts or kits from any sponsoring manufacturer. Many of the robots are built from scratch using parts from old kitchen appliances or whatever you can find that will do the job.”Now in its third year, the Robotics Competition, also known as The Pennbots Downtown Dog Fight, is growing. All builders, including hobbyists and students from any grade level, are able to compete. Individuals and teams are both welcome. “A team could be a father and son, a group of students from any grade, or a single individual building her first robot,” says Young. The goals of this competition are to encourage young people to consider careers in science and technology, to encourage schools to form robotics clubs and teams, and for individuals to learn the basic engineering skills involved in designing, building and programming robots. Says Young, “A kid can easily waste each Saturday watching cartoons about robots on TV. I’m glad HU is helping give those kids a better option.”
Both individuals interested in participating and spectators are welcome to attend. Registration to compete begins at 9 AM, and the competition runs from 10 AM to approximately 2:30 PM. All events will be held in the Harrisburg University Academic Center at 326 Market Street in Harrisburg. For additional information, visit HarrisburgU.net or call 901-5100.