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Robotics Competition Officially Kicks Off

Friday, September 20, 2013
By Eladio Jaimez

RoboticsAll that was missing were cheerleaders and the band.

Other than that, the Third Annual RGV BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition kicked off with a bang last week at the Texas State Technical College Fieldhouse in a pep-rally type environment.

Not every team was in attendance to take part in the official kickoff. Only 14 of the 16 teams were on hand to receive instruction and their kits to start working on their robots for the Oct. 26 competition. On Oct. 12, there will be a “Mall Day” when teams will showcase their robots to a live audience at Valle Vista Mall in what coordinator Adan Trevino is calling a “dry run.”

As teams were introduced by Trevino, team members would stand up and cheer for each other. The playing field or “gatekeeper” as it’s referred to by competitors, was also introduced at the kick off. This gatekeeper is the obstacle-course type playing field in which the robots will be tested the day of the competition.

The RGV BEST competition is a yearly event designed to inspire high school and middle school students to further their studies in the fields of science and engineering. The teams usually start with a box of raw materials (the kit) and are given six weeks to design, build and later demonstrate a remote-controlled machine that will perform a given task.

“The mission is to inspire students to pursue a career in one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields by providing a sports-like competition,” Trevino said. “The day of the competition we’ll have an opening ceremony with a drum line from MMA (Marine Military Academy).”

Engineers and scientists from local industry serve as team coaches and mentor the students along the process.

TSTC serves as the hub for South Texas as teams from San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo and across the Valley will compete that day.

The day of the competition, students will give oral presentations and show exhibits of their team, robot and the building process in the morning. The competition will take place from 1-6 p.m.

This year, the competition is registered on www.eventbrite.com and free tickets can be obtained through the website.

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