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Students and robots compete and battle for honors

SANTA CLARA, Calif.April 13, 2003—Student teams from middle and high schools all across Northern California will match robots and compete in a tournament on Saturday, April 17 at Santa Clara University. The competition, called ‘Botball,’ is a hands-on program that teaches students to design, build, and program their own robots.

“Botball hooks students on to technology,” said Chris Kitts, professor of engineering at Santa Clara University. “It teaches the fundamentals of engineering in a fun and exciting way --students like to see something they built come to life.” Thirty-one teams from middle and high schools will compete in this year’s tournament, to be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the floor of SCU’s basketball arena, at the Leavey Center.

Botball is an educational outreach program designed to engage students in learning the practical applications of science, technology, engineering, and math through building robots. Botball robots are completely autonomous and rely on their programming to start, stop, and maneuver on the game board.

Students get six weeks to build their mobile robots. In the tournament the robots compete against each other. The students score points by getting the robots to perform a few simple tasks, such as placing colored balls in different positions. Robots are student built and programmed to maneuver on a game board without remote control. This year marks the sixth annual Northern California Botball Robot Tournament.

Botball is an educational program created by the KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, a non-profit organization based in Norman, Okla. The institute’s mission is to create robotics programs that improve the public’s understanding of science, math, and technology.   For information on the institute and the tournament visit For information on the event, contact Chris Kitts at (408)554-4382. 

About Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering

Founded in 1912, the SCU School of Engineering reflects this tradition in its implementation of selected, high-quality undergraduate and graduate programs. The school’s location in the heart of Silicon Valley, engaged and accessible faculty, and state-of-the-art equipment combine to create a powerful learning environment for engineering students. Engineering disciplines in the School of Engineering include Applied Mathematics, Civil, Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Management and Leadership. More information can be found at

About Santa ClaraUniversity

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,047students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the fourth-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see




<p>SCU engineering students watch robots in recent competition.</p>

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