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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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BEST Robotics Competition Oct. 23 at NMSU

On Saturday, Oct. 23, more than 400 students representing teams from across New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, will compete in a robotics competition using robots they designed and created. The competition begins at 9 a.m. at the James B. Delamater Activity Center, on the corner of Stewart and Locust streets on the New Mexico State University campus in Las Cruces, N.M. The event, titled "Total Recall," requires the teams to build robots that can identify and separate faulty products from good prior to packaging, using standard quality assurance guidelines.

The BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition is an annual affair that offers middle and high school students an opportunity to work in a situation where they are confronted with the same challenges and breakthroughs encountered by industry engineering teams. NMSU's College of Engineering is sponsoring the competition for the ninth year.

This year's opening ceremonies are set to begin at 9 a.m. The competition takes places from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the awards presentation at 5 p.m.

Each year competing teams are given a specific task and identical equipment and parts kits to construct a robot that will complete the task. They then have six weeks to design, build and test a robot that will outperform its competitors. Schools compete with each other on the game field and in addition to competition results will be judged on their engineering notebook, marketing presentation, website, interviews with judges, sportsmanship and spirit.

This year, NM BEST is also awarding the teacher or coach who most fully demonstrates BEST principles. This award is named after recently retired NM BEST coordinator Sheila Horan.

Julie Seton is this year's lead project coordinator. She leads a team of volunteers that includes Heather Pfeiffer from NMSU's Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Terry Mount, director of technical studies at Dona Ana Community College; Ron Matthews, Western sales manager at CALCULEX Inc. of Las Cruces, N.M.; retired MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement) coordinator Karen Lieberman; and Michael DeAntonio, college associate professor in NMSU's Department of Physics.

National sponsors of this event include BEST Robotics Inc., VEX Robotics, MathWorks, SolidWorks Corp., igus Inc., Carnegie Mellon University and Intelitek.

Local sponsors include CALCULEX Inc., New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, Dona Ana Community College Technical Services, Lowe's Home Improvement, Indelible Enterprises LLC, Home Depot, New Mexico Technology Council, High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico, CraigenTaggert and the NMSU golf program.