Robotics competition attracts teams from region, East Coast to NDSU

Middle and high school students from throughout the region and as far away as Connecticut will soon converge in Fargo to determine whose robot is best. NDSU is scheduled to host the Northern Plains BEST Robotics regional championship Dec. 6-7 at the Fargo Civic Center.

The theme of this year’s competition, Gatekeeper, revolves around building central processing units, or CPUs. Robots work in a series of three-minute matches to collect components needed for the manufacturing of a complete CPU, including transistors, gates, integrated circuits and memory chips. Points are awarded for the successful completion of tasks related to building a CPU.

The competition is free and open to the public on Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Fargo Civic Center. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 8 a.m. Robot matches are from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an awards ceremony at 4 p.m. The event also can be viewed live online at www.cateyenls.com.

Teams from across the country competing in this year’s BEST robotics challenge were given six weeks to design and build a robot to compete against other schools. A total of 33 teams advanced from local competitions and earned a spot to compete in the regional championship in Fargo.

Teams advancing to the regional competition either had the top-performing robot in their local competition or won the BEST Award, which includes the delivery of a marketing presentation, the writing of a project engineering notebook, design of a team exhibit, and a spirit and sportsmanship component.

The advancing teams are coming from one of eight local competition sites including Fargo, Dickinson and Wahpeton, N.D.; Brookings, S.D.; New London, Minn.; New Britain Conn.; Bowling Green, Ohio; and Grove City, Pa. NDSU’s College of Engineering hosted the Bison BEST Robotics Competition Nov. 1 and 2 at NDSU.

More than 160 area volunteers, consisting of business professionals and NDSU students and faculty are helping to manage the event. Over the past seven years, the BEST Robotics program in the tri-state area has grown from 16 teams to 60 teams, and approximately 1,200 students engaged in the program this year.

BEST stands for boosting engineering, science and technology. Its mission is to inspire middle school and high school students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math through participation in a sports-like, science and engineering-based robotics competition.

For more information, contact Nancy Rossland at 701-388-3124 or nancy.rossland@ndsu.edu.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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