Hundreds Of Okla. Students Flock To Robotics Competition In Norman

Saturday, March 8th 2014, 7:02 pm
By: News 9

Hundreds of students from across Oklahoma and surrounding states competed in a robotics competition themed around human movements. 

The robots are autonomous. They are programmed to move by themselves, without a remote control. Organizers said this kind of technology would become the future of Oklahoma and these kids would be ready to take those jobs.

Participants ranged from elementary school up through high school age. The competition was the culmination of an eight-week program where challenges were set and teams designed, built and programmed their robots to perform tasks including deciphering colors, sorting objects and hanging coat hangers.

While it was a fun competition, the Botball organizers said it all comes down to business for the kids.

"These kids are writing code. Writing code has applications everywhere. Healthcare, transportation, weather, anything you think of. Writing code is the new language that kids need," said Steve Goodgame, the Executive Director of Kiss Institute for Practical Robotics in Norman.

Leoni Schlupp is a Junior Norman High School and part of the defending champion team. She has already thought about her post-college career in engineering.

"I really want to be some kind of engineering major and so of course this is what's going to be next, robots helping people and areas of life."

Organizers said the skills become second-nature to these kids, who probably don't even know the positive impact it will have on their futures in the work-force.

"We're going to need programmers to do that. So the better prepared workforce we have, the more industry we're going to attract to the state," said Goodgame.

 Judges were industry professionals from companies like Boeing and Raytheon.