The second full week in April is officially designated as National Robotics Week across the United States in recognition of the growing importance of robotics in a wide variety of applications areas and its role in encouraging students to learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) concepts and to aspire to STEM-related careers.
Last weekend saw several regional events in the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition and another set of regional heats will take place next Saturday with winning teams going forward to the national championship which takes place in St. Louis on April 25 - 28.
Museums and educational establishments have special events planned for National Robotics Week and the best way to discover what's happening in your vicinity is to consult the interactive map. There's also a schedule that includes free webinars and online talks as well.
One activity anyone can participate in is to vote for the best application among eleven finalists in the DARwIn-OP Humanoid Application Challenge. This contest is part of the 2012 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation and is to extend the capabilities of the ROBOTIS Open Platform Humanoid Project. Finalists have prepared 1-minute videos of their submissions and there's a rewards for those who make the best comments on the voting site before April 12th.
The 9th annual RoboGames, described as the Olympics of Robots takes place on April 20 - 22 in San Mateo California. It attracts competitors from around the world to participate in over 50 different events involving both autonomous and remote controlled robots and its Junior League events are specifically for robot builders under 18.
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