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Thanksgiving RoboParade draws 145 participants

Release Date: December 10, 2012
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The robot float entered by the Tyshka/Propson Homeschool was the top qualifier in Lawrence Technological University’s seventh annual Thanksgiving RoboParade. LTU Professor CJ Chung and U.S. Army Major Gen. Amy Courter congratulate the students (L-R) Anna Tyshka, Sophia Propson, Molly Propson, Alex Tyshka (kneeling and holding the float), and Zachary Propson.

The seventh annual Thanksgiving RoboParade organized by LTU Robofest staff was held at Macomb Community College on Nov 17.

Thirty-nine out of 50 teams qualified by passing six robot tasks such as line following, object detection, and speed display. In addition each team was asked to pass a written exam that tests math concepts to calculate average speed, in order to get an official flag.

Students had to program their robot floats to detect other robots and to stop and re-start without human help along the parade route – no remote control was allowed. RoboParade is intended to help inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, as well as computer science in a creative environment.

The opening remarks were given by U.S. Army Major General Amy S. Courter, CAP/USAFX, the past president of the Michigan chapter of Women In Defense. She encouraged young students to get involved in STEM projects such as RoboParade. Then she started the official Parade by say: “Let the Parade begin”. The picture shows a team who has flag number 1, which means the team was passing all the 7 qualifying tasks for the first time.

This year 40 percent of 145 participants were female students, the highest female ratio in all robofest activities in the past 14 years, according to LTU Computer Science Professor CJ Chung, the founder of Robofest.The event was broadcast live on the web, and YouTube videos were posted. People were able to watch robotic floats after the event and then vote for their favorite floats using text messaging.There were 562 votes cast for the People’s Choice Award when voting was closed on Dec 5. Here are the People’s Choice Award winners:

• RoboCruisers from Canton, Coach Wei Liu (124 votes).

• Cranbrook 1 from Bloomfield Hills, Coach Betsy Lamb (57 votes).

• Robosharks 2 from Schalm Elementary School, Clawson, Coach Andrea Auger Cole (53 votes).

This year’s parade featured robot floats constructed, decorated, and programmed by teams representing grades 4-12 from Almont, Bloomfield Hills, Canton, Clawson, Detroit, Farmington Hills, Milan, Milford, Northville, Redford, Southfield, Sterling Heights, and Washington in Michigan. Participants donated food cans to give to those in need during the holiday season.

To watch a video showing all the entries, visit online at http://youtu.be/lFmznXBHhlgOr visit www.robofest.net and click on the RoboParade link for more information about this year’s RoboParade.