UWF hosts annual BEST Robotics Competition

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida hosted its annual BEST Robotics Competition on Saturday, Nov. 2 at the UWF Field House.

Student teams from 14 local middle and high schools competed in this year’s local competition. The students were given six weeks to complete a robot that can perform a specific function. For this year’s theme, “Gatekeeper 2013,” students were charged with updating the central processing unit of BEST Robotic Inc.’s robot, “Squeaky.”

The teams presented their prototypes on Saturday before testing them in three-minute matches, broken down into semifinal and final rounds. Each team was evaluated on its robot’s performance, marketing presentation, team exhibit, technical notebook, and spirit and sportsmanship.

Seaside Neighborhood School placed first in the tournament, followed by Woodlawn Beach Middle School in second and Tate High School in third. These teams will advance to the regional competition, which will be held at Auburn University on Dec. 7-8.

The following UWF School of Education faculty participated in the competition: Dr. Dana Boddy; Dr. Michelle Gaudette; Dr. Chrissy Ogilvie; and Dr. Giang-Nguyen Nguyen. Dr. Lakshmi Prayaga, assistant professor in the Department of Applied Science, Technology and Administration, also participated.

The annual competition is sponsored by BEST Inc., a non-profit, volunteer-based organization. Its name stands for Boosting Engineering Science and Technology, and its mission is to inspire middle and high school students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology through participation in the sports-like, science- and engineering-based robotics competition. More than 18,000 students from 850 middle and high schools participate in the nationwide competition each fall.

The Emerald Coast BEST hub is the only one in Florida. The hub is funded completely by corporate and individual sponsorships, which provide each team with a material kit to build the robots. No fees are paid by students or schools that participate in BEST robotics competitions.

For additional information about the Emerald Coast BEST Robotics Competition, visit uwf.edu/ecbest.

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