Will Smith played against some sentient robots in the Isaac Asimov inspired flick, “I, Robot,” now robots are coming to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. The Robofest, a regional championship, will take place on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At a time when more African American boys and girls should be engaged with the sciences, the Robofest is a great platform for ideas to soar. Twenty-three teams from the metro Detroit area will compete in a regional championship round. These include teams from Detroit, Clawson, Ferndale, Farmington Hills, Northville, Canton, Auburn Hills, and Southfield.

Robots have been a big deal in science fiction since Karl Capek’s 1920 play, R.U.R., and Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics. Robofest is a competition of autonomous robots – computer-programmed to act independently and not remote-controlled – that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of science, technology, engineering, and math, known as the STEM subjects. Teams compete in the junior division (grades 5-9) or senior division (grades 9-12), using a variety of computer programming languages.

Trophy winners at this competition will advance to the Robofest Michigan Championship on Saturday, April 27, at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield. The Robofest 2013 World Championship will be held at LTU on Saturday, May 18. (Go to www.robofest.net.)

This year’s game mission, SRCC (search, rescue, cleanup, and collect data) is to search for and rescue people trapped in a black box from a tower, clean up white toxic boxes from the contaminated area, and measure the size of the contaminated area in square millimeters.

In addition to the game, there will be science fair-style exhibition competition, which will demonstrate the imagination and creativity of the students through robotics.

Team members, attendees, and visitors can visit the “Inspiring Minds” exhibit free of charge and may tour the rest of the Wright Museum for a $7 entry fee. Secure parking is available behind the museum at the Cultural Center parking lot for $5 before 4 p.m. The museum is located at 315 E. Warren. So, if you have time this Saturday, support our kids.

For more information, visit http://www.nationalroboticsweek.org.

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