A robotics competition taking place annually since 1992 opened this morning at Pitt's Petersen Events Center with twelve local high school teams and 25 regional teams from as far away as Detroit. For this year's game--"Lunacy"--teams had six weeks to build robots to out-maneuver each other on a playing surface like the moon's.
Segway inventor and competition founder Dean Kamen wants to make science "cool" to attract the next generation of innovators and engineers. The mentor of a team from Warren G. Harding High School in Warren, Ohio, Donnell Conner, is an engineer with Delphi Corp., the automotive supplier he says is maintaining its commitment to the competition even in these rough economic times because the kids participating will be so needed in the country's future workforce. Conner says they also learn precepts like "coopetition", which stands for cooperation through competition. Games are structured in such a way that today's competitor may be tomorrow's ally.
Regional winners will go on to compete at the national level in April in Atlanta.