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Robots Unlimited at UMass Lowell Festival and Tournament


Inventors, young and old, will push the limits of robotics at a festival, Botfest, and a competitive tournament, Botball, on Saturday, Mar. 29, in UMass Lowell's new Campus Recreation Center.

            Botfest, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., is an exhibition of interactive robots, build-it-yourself robots, and demonstrations of creations by students from fourth grade to adult.

            A young class from Smithfield, Rhode Island, will demonstrate their computational interactive jewelry--programmed to light up when you meet someone with the same interests. Robots may sing, make and deliver tea, engrave portraits, play chess, or calculate the speed of a spinning wheel.

            From 1 to 4 p.m., high-spirited, fast-paced competition is the scene at Botball, one of the regional competitions under the auspices of the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics. Botball seeding rounds are from 10 a.m. to noon, when the robots show off their individual capabilities, and the head-to-head, double elimination rounds conclude at 4 p.m. with awards. Eleven schools from Massachusetts and Rhode Island are sending teams.

            "We hope lots of families with children will come," says Asst. Prof. Holly Yanco, who runs the event with Asst. Prof. Fred Martin, both of the Computer Science Department. "Botfest is full of highly interactive demos, and the Botball tournament is exciting to watch. We're very pleased to be in the new campus recreation center this year; it's a great location."

            More information and directions can be found at

Competing teams in Botball:

Algonquin Regional High School, Northboro

Arlington Catholic High School

Ashland High/Middle School

Chelmsford High School

Martha's Vineyard Public Charter School, West Tisbury (two teams)

Northbridge High School, Whitinsville

Robinson Middle School, Lowell

South Kingston High School, Wakefield, RI

Waltham High School

Wellesley High School (two teams)

Winchester High School

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224