Robots From 30 High Schools Set to Do Battle on June 23

BattleCry@WPI is the Second Largest Robotics Competition in New England

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass. - Teams from 30 high schools from around the Northeast and Midwest will test their technical expertise and their strategic skills as they take part in BattleCry@WPI on June 23. BattleCry is one of largest robotics competitions in New England (second only to the annual FIRST New England Regional contest). Robots will do battle on a specially designed playing field in Harrington Auditorium on the campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which hosts the annual event. The competition is co-sponsored by Tyco / Fire & Security / Tyco Electronic Product Group in Westminster, Mass.

"This is one of the most competitive and exciting robotics events in the nation," says Ken Stafford, manager of academic initiatives at WPI and director of BattleCry@WPI. "It's a chance to see sophisticated, high-tech, 130-pound machines duel in an intense, high-energy contest modeled on competitive sports match-ups. It is also a wonderful opportunity to see how participating in robotics contests stirs up a passion for science and engineering among high school kids. These are some of the young men and women who will help the United States maintain its technological leadership in the decades ahead."

The 30 teams that have signed up for the event are all fresh from the national championships of the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competition. The line-up includes a member of the coalition that won the nationals, a national semifinalist, and several winners of regional FIRST contests. Included in the last category is the WPI/Mass Academy team, coached by Stafford, which won the Long Island regional event.

"All of these robots have been tested in competition and further refined and improved in the weeks following the FIRST season," Stafford says. "They will be driven by crews that have worked out the kinks in their competitive strategies and have learned to work together in the heat of battle. This promises to be a first-rate contest."

The robots, joined by human players and supported by crews of drivers, controllers and strategists, will go head to head in a competition modeled after this year's FIRST contests, but with some modifications that should make the event more competitive and more engaging for spectators, Stafford says. "For example, rather than grouping the competitors into four-team coalitions, we will have the robots compete two-on-two in each match. The option of throwing in some defensive strategies should make the event truly exciting and suspenseful for the competitors and the audience."

Victorious teams will receive trophies and medals in a number of categories. Team registration begins in Harrington Auditorium at 7 a.m. The qualifying rounds begin at 9 a.m. and the final rounds get under way at 3:30 p.m. Admission to the day's events is free.

For more information, visit the BattleCry Web site, www.wpi.edu/News/Events/BattleCry, or call 508-831-6122.

Photos of a similar robotics competition are available upon request.