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* M E D I A A D V I S O R Y *
TOMORROW - March 27
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
WHAT: Overlapping robotics events offer plenty to do and a high-energy competition to watch as UMass Lowell hosts its third New England Botball Tournament and Botfest, an open-invitation display and demonstration of inventions.
WHERE: Campus Recreation Center, corner of Perkins and Aiken streets, Lowell (Across from LeLacheur Park)
WHEN: Botfest: displays and demonstrations, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
* involving more than a dozen middle and high school and University groups *
Botball: Seeding rounds, 10 a.m. - noon
Double elimination tournament, 1 - 4 p.m.
* SPECIAL FOR MEDIA: Botball teams will play exhibition matches for press photographers and TV cameras between noon and 1 p.m. since lights and flash photography are not allowed during tournament play. (The robots are calibrated to light.)
WHY: Botball is educational, as well as entertaining. The students master the skills to design, build and program their creations (unlike competitions led by teams of professional engineers). The experience is empowering and the kits from KISS Institute of Robotics stay in the classroom. Participating teams are from Ashland, Needham, Northboro, Wakefield (R.I.), Waltham, Wellesley, West Roxbury, West Tisbury, Whitinsville and Worcester.
Botfest is a unique opportunity for inventors of all ages to share ideas in animatronics and robotics, from a coffee-serving robot to affinity jewelry. School, community and university inventors will participate. This year's demonstrations involve a fifth grade class's robot which interprets Aboriginal art and UMass Lowell undergraduate students' child-sized jeep which speaks and greets visitors to the event.