CAPE ELIZABETH — Robots will do battle on Nov. 2 when Cape Elizabeth High School hosts the Southern Maine VEX Robotics Tournament from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
More than 100 students from 20 New England teams will compete – with machines they’ve designed, built and tested – in a game that tests the robots’ ability to maneuver plastic balls of varying sizes and shapes into scoring zones and 2-foot-tall cylinders during two-minute rounds. Two teams compete at a time on a 12-by-12-foot field.
“It is an exciting day of matches. To see how each team interprets the game, and how they design their robot is always enlightening,” said Evan Thayer, coach for Cape Robotics and teacher of the K-12 robotics program at Cape Elizabeth Schools. “Everyone leaves learning something about themselves or the design/build process.”
Saturday’s tournament, the first of four Maine robotics competitions planned for the 2013-2014 school year, is sponsored by the Robotics Institute of Maine. Some teams will qualify for the Maine State VEX Championship on Feb. 15 at Hampden Academy.
“RIM’s mission is to get more Maine students involved with competitive robotics as a way to inspire them toward studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” or STEM fields, RIM Director Jamee Luce said. “Competitive robotics brings together engineering, programming, leadership skills and project management in an exciting and fun format. We hope to inspire these students and ultimately help fill the current gap in Maine’s technical workforce.”
Students from the University of Maine College of Engineering and its Black Bear Robotics Club will help run the tournament.
VEX Robotics competitions are held annually in 20 countries worldwide. While the field size remains the same from year to year, the game elements change every season to challenge participants in new ways. This year’s game, Toss Up!, features large balls shaped like buckminsterfullerene molecules.
A robot built for last year’s VEX Robotics competition.