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All About Robots

By DE Editors

Robotevents.com features robotics news, blogs, events, and information intended to promote student interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The site is sponsored by Autodesk (San Rafael, CA) and Innovation First (Greenville, TX), which makes and sells robotics kits for the hobby, competition, and education markets. Its products include Vex Robotics Design System, VEXplorer, HEXBUG Micro Robotic Creatures, and IFI Robotics.

According to Autodesk, Robotevents.com is a comprehensive online resource that brings together information from many of the pioneers in the educational robotics community. Site visitors can locate and register for robotics and technology competitions by geography and date, including BEST Robotics Competition, Botball Education Robotics Program, FIRST Lego League, FIRST Robotics Competition, FIRST Tech Challenge and VEX Robotics Competitions. Robotevents.com will be updated daily with information on new events.

Other site features include news and information on industry conferences, camps, and workshops focused on technology and professional development for educators. Educators interested in implementing robotics programs in the classroom will be able to access curricula such as the NASA Robotics Alliance Project. Visitors can also view the latest designs in a variety of robot galleries as well as the "cool robot of the week."

Robotics has increased in popularity among today’s students at both the secondary and post-secondary level, with more than 450 events and competitions taking place in 2006 alone. A recent study by the American Society for Engineering Education shows that 89% of students who participated in robotics activities better understood the role of science and technology in their everyday lives, and 69 percent said that learning about robotics made them more interested in science and technology careers. Robotics contests also promote the development of critical skills such as teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, professionalism, and problem-solving.

"There are many fantastic robotics programs out there—from elementary all the way to college level," said Jason Morrella, senior director of education and competition at Innovation First. "However, only five to 10 percent of schools take advantage of these programs. Robotevents.com is our way of spreading the word about these great programs in a way that is easy to understand and navigate. We hope more young people can discover robotics programs, explore the possibilities of STEM through an entirely new perspective, and have a great time during the process."

The partnership is an extension of Autodesk’s support of robotics, which during the past 16 years has included a contribution of approximately $89 million of software and training to support participants of the FIRST Robotics competitions.

"We are excited to partner with Innovation First to inspire students and educators to explore the exciting world of robotics," said Paul Mailhot, senior director of worldwide education programs for Autodesk. "With the shortage of engineers worldwide, robotics is a highly effective way to engage students of all ages in engineering, get them excited about STEM, and prepare them for future academic and professional success."

"I was blown away by the features of Robotevents.com," said George Blanks of the BEST Board of Directors and director of K-12 Engineering Outreach at Auburn University. "As a volunteer-based initiative, this new site, along with the registration system, will help us promote and grow our program in ways we only dreamed were possible—all the while reaching more schools and teams with a more professional, consistent, higher-quality and improved experience."

Autodesk encourages Robotevents.com visitors to join the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community to download free student versions of popular 2D and 3D design software, including Autodesk Inventor software. Any secondary or postsecondary student or educator with a valid education email address can join the Autodesk Student Engineering and Design Community.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

About DE Editors

DE's editors contribute news and new product announcements to Desktop Engineering. Press releases can be sent to them via DE-Editors@deskeng.com.