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1,000 Students + 350 Robots = Exciting Education: National Robotics Challenge - April 11-13, 2013

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The National Robotics Challenge, funded by the SME Education Foundation, promotes innovation and helps stimulate creativity in students using robotic technology. Students from 70 schools across 9 states will compete in one of the few “open-platform” educational competitions.

DEARBORN, Mich., MARION, Ohio, (March 18, 2013) – Rescue Robots aid in relief efforts in the aftermath of earthquakes, mining accidents and other disasters when it’s too dangerous for people to enter. At the National Robotics Challenge (NRC), students as young as 11 years old can be involved in shaping this emerging technology.

Aspiring engineers in elementary, middle and high school, as well as post-secondary school are given the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of advanced manufacturing, controls, robotics and other technologies through competitive engineering contests. The NRC, being held April 11-13 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Marion, Ohio, is comprised of 12 exciting and challenging contests. Each contest is designed to help students develop the creativity, engineering, problem solving and leadership skills they will need in the world of tomorrow.

This robotics challenge is unlike any other in that schools are able to participate for a nominal fee and are not required to buy a specific kit – allowing schools that may be financially challenged, to spend more money on materials needed to build their robots. Corporate sponsorship for the 2013 National Robotics Challenge has been provided by Honda of America Manufacturing, Inc., and the SME Education Foundation.

For the second year, the NRC has partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory on the Rescue Robot competition. One team from this event will be chosen to work with the Air Force Research Laboratory and a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emergency response team to further develop their design into an autonomous/semi-autonomous rescue robot prototype. The selected team will receive additional funding to purchase the materials needed to develop the prototype.

“When student teams are working to build their robots, they’re developing the visionary talents of engineers,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Today, robots navigate battlefields to disarm explosive devices or enter a building to find people inside and carry them to safety. Anyone can dream about the future, but people who actually turn those dreams into reality will be engineers. We are supporting the National Robotics Challenge because it is a major step in the educational career path of these young people.”

Supporting Partners: IMAGINiT, Friends of the NRC: Harbolt Electrical and Alarms, Inc., Ohio Technology and Engineering Educators Association, RobotWorx, and TRECA, Preferred Vendors: Depco, LLC, Gears Educational Systems, IMAGINiT, LEGO Education and Make-Parts.

About the National Robotics Challenge (NRC):
The National Robotics Challenge, developed in 1986, is an annual event designed to provide students from elementary, middle, high and post-secondary schools with an opportunity to compete and test their classroom instruction and understanding of manufacturing processes, controls and robotics and automation. Today, the NRC attracts more than 1,000 students from over 70 schools who compete in 12 exciting contest categories. Visit www.roboticschallenge.org

About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org. Also visit www.ManufacturingisCool, our award-winning website for young people, and www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers.

Media Contact:
Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, SME Education Foundation, 313.425.3302, baslin@sme.org
Tad A. Douce, director of events, National Robotics Challenge (NRC), 740.361.6772, tdouce@getsetsite.org

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