2017-2018 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit awards series 2 winners

Approximately 200 elementary, middle, and high school teams participated in a STEM robotics competition this past weekend in Bossier City.

Public, private schools and afterschool organizations in Bossier, Caddo, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Sabine, and Webster Parishes, and Miller and Union Counties in Arkansas, participated in the 2017-2018 Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) Competition 2 on Saturday, Feb. 28, at the Bossier Civic Center.

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“Students and teachers alike seem excited about this year’s theme, Small Wonders, Big Possibilities. It allows students to explore fields like chemistry, genetics, and neuroscience in addition to learning to program their robots to autonomously accomplish theme-related tasks on the competition mat. We were thrilled that Louisiana Tech University was able to offer an interactive presentation to the teams to provide a connection between these subject matters and skills and future academic and career pathways,” commented Kevin Nolten, director of academic outreach for the Cyber Innovation Center.

A team of faculty and students from the Biomedical Engineering department and the Neuronal Networks in Epilepsy and Memory (NeuroNEM) team of Louisiana Tech University presented evidence of brain waves and how they can be used in brain-machine interface (BMI) applications. The presentation included hands-on experiments with two machines that can record and analyze brain’s electrical activity. Brain waves were “read” through sensors on the head and then transmitted to a fan that controlled levitation of a ball. The strength of the brain waves translated to the more power to the fan and resulted in the ball floating higher.

The RARC teams accumulated points based on their performance throughout Competition 2 and were ranked accordingly. In the elementary division, W.T. Lewis Team 2 emerged as the first place winner followed by South Highlands Team 2 in second place and Plantation Park Team 2 in third place. Benton Middle School Team 1 triumphed in the middle school division and was awarded first place. Elm Grove Middle School Team 8 won second place, and Elm Grove Middle School Team 9 was named the third place winner. In the high school division, Caddo Magnet High School Team 3 earned first place while Benton High School Team 1 and Donnie Bickham Middle School Team 2 took second and third place, respectively.

“I applaud all of the teams, and I applaud the teachers and parents who supported the students as they prepared and participated in this valuable learning experience. I also applaud our community for coming 2

together for this event that benefits hundreds of students. I saw volunteers from the K-12 school systems, colleges and universities, Barksdale Air Force Base, and other local businesses and community organizations serving in every role today,” said Bossier City Mayor Lorenz Walker.