She says working with robotics in a competition setting gives kids the opportunity to not just learn how to build a robot, but also how to work as part of a team with other kids, and the importance of achieving the best possible design, not just a design that happens to work. Troubleshooting and tweaking to make improvements is important to the process. It’s also a concept built into the MAVBOT Competition.
MSU electrical and computer engineering and technology professor Vince Winstead said that, when he designed the competition, he hoped that kids would talk to each other, even talk to other teams, to figure out solutions to their problems. He called it the “spirit of competition.”
“I’m really encouraged by the fact that there are so many kids here,” he said.
Last year the competition was somewhat different.
Instead of a black line on the floor for robots to follow with light sensors, it was a wooden maze that robots navigated with bumpers. This year’s version, Winstead said, was slightly easier.
“It’s achievable,” he said. “They can feel like they can be successful, yet it’s challenging.”