More than 600 students from around the world will travel to Lawrence Technological University for three days of competition in Robofest, a youth robotics competition.

Competitions will begin at LTU in Southfield on Thursday, May 16, with the world championship game competition coming Saturday, May 18.

It’s the 20th anniversary of the event, founded by LTU computer science Professor C.J. Chung.

The 261 teams participating this year hail from numerous states as well as 14 countries.

Robofest is a competition to build and program autonomous robots. Unlike other robotics competitions, the robots are completely software-controlled, not controlled by remote operators using joysticks.

Also, students are free to use any robotic kits, parts, sensors, and programming language.

The competition features a more modest cost than other robotics competitions, with an entry fee of just $50, and a basic robotic kit that costs $300.

Robofest includes multiple events. The most popular is a game that changes every year. This year’s game, called “Binary Blocks,” requires that robots move and arrange black and white blocks to represent a 4-digit binary number. Last-minute challenges are also added to the game just before competition, and students are given 30 minutes to alter their programming language to achieve them.

Other Robofest events include an open competition, in which students can build a robot to achieve a task that they dream up, a robotic art exhibition, a computer vision-based robotics challenge, a simple robotic sumo wrestling competition, a parade of decorated autonomous robots and a talent show.

Teams compete in a junior division, grades 5-8, and a senior division, grades 9-12.

Since its founding in 1999, more than 28,000 students have participated in Robofest.

The event is free and open to the public. Ample free parking is available in nearby lots.

For more information, visit


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