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A Cal U student builds a robot - NewsA Cal U student builds a robot - News


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Students from dozens of local high schools will lead custom-built robots into battle when BotsIQ holds its 6th annual preliminary regional competition March 25 and 26 at California University of Pennsylvania.

Inspections begin at 8 a.m. in the Performance Center, inside the Natali Student Center.

Robot combat is scheduled from 9:30-noon and from 1-4:30 p.m. each day.

Bots IQ is a national program supported locally by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association. Through the program, students are taught to design, build and battle robots in an exciting, gladiator-style competition.

The contest draws on students’ knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math, as well as their record-keeping and public speaking ability. Winning battles is important, but the top award will go to the team that also demonstrates the strongest documentation and best group interview skills.

“The competition has grown exponentially in its short existence, but the focus this year isn't about getting bigger — it's about precision,” says Mike Amrhein, co-director of NCRETE, the National Center for Robotics Engineering Technology Education, based at Cal U.

“This year's BotsIQ committee is fine-tuning the event to maximize its impact on participants and regional manufacturers.”

In addition to educating students, the competition aims to build a future workforce that can support the region’s manufacturing base. Among the 44 “Bots IQ companies” in southwestern Pennsylvania are Allegheny Ludlum in Washington, Pa.; Dura-Metal products in Irwin; Jatco Machine and Tool in Pittsburgh; Kennametal Knowledge Center in Latrobe; and Lockheed Aero Division in Johnstown.

“Students see that building things is fun, it’s challenging and it’s a potential career,” Amrhein says.

Dowload a list of participating schools.

Watch the video below to see highlights from a previous BotsIQ competition at Cal U.