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Connellsville students to participate in BotsIQ, the robot-bashing contest
[March 19, 2010]

Connellsville students to participate in BotsIQ, the robot-bashing contest

Mar 19, 2010 (The Daily Courier - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- For the third year, Connellsville Area High School students will participate in the robot-bashing contest at the Century III Mall known as BotsIQ.

Based on the cable television show where remote-controlled robots equipped with weaponry battle each other in a miniature arena, BotsIQ started in 2006 at the Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg. It moved to Century III Mall in Pleasant Hills in 2007.

Larry Hodge, a technology teacher at Connellsville Area High School, said the competition is just one of many the school's program competes in throughout the year; however, BotsIQ is the only one that uses robots for battle.

This year, Hodge said they will have seven students comprising two teams. They believe they will do better this year. Last year, their robots had electrical problems.

The groups plan to make a robot that spins and a robot that appears as a wedge. While each "bot" is expected to have some kind of weapon system, the students are keeping their bots simple, Hodge said, because the more complicated the bot, the more things could go wrong while in battle.

CAHS senior Clifford Walters, captain and driver for one of the Connellsville teams, said the weapons systems aren't that important, because in battles like the one next month, points are given for one bot tapping another, not a fight to destruction.

Students started their bot-building projects in late October and plan to have them done early.

Jeff Lynd, a student teacher at the school who has been involved with BotsIQ for years, said it's often the case that a team will build their bot either the night before or the day of the event, which normally leads to problems in the ring.

Hodge said the experience gives the students a chance to learn about real-world applications like teamwork, keeping an engineer's journal and meeting deadlines.

"It's really fun, and you get to smash stuff, too," Walters said.

The BotsIQ event will take place April 16 and 17 at Century III Mall.

On Friday of the BotsIQ, another BotsIQ event will take place at Seven Springs, but it won't be a battle, just a skills competition with robots doing various tasks.

Mark Hofmann can be reached at or 724-626-3539.

To see more of The Daily Courier or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2010, The Daily Courier, Connellsville, Pa. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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