News Release

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2008

Western Technical College’s Electronics program will host a robotics challenge between 12 area high schools on Friday, May 2. The third annual event will take place from 10:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Kumm Center Cafeteria, 400 6th St. N., La Crosse.

The competition is the conclusion to a special electronics program that Western Technical College offered at Arcadia, Black River Falls, La Farge, Holmen, Logan, Melrose-Mindoro, New Lisbon, Onalaska, Sparta, Tomah, West Salem, and Westby High Schools through a state Technical Preparation Grant.

The grant money was used to purchase electronic robots, software, and additional materials for each participating school. It also allowed Western Technical College Electronics instructor Jonathan Burman to visit the high schools and train the teachers who administer the basic robotics curriculum.

“There is a growing need for electronic technicians,” Burman said. “This is a great opportunity for us to show high school students what electronics is all about. The robots really grab their attention and make this a fun experience.”

The robots, called BOEbots, for board of education, are approximately the size of a five-inch cube. Each is equipped with a circuit board, wheels, and a drive mechanism controlled a micro-controller and sensors. Students use computer software to program the robot’s movement based on information from the sensors.

Over 150 high school students took part in the electronics course, and students from each school will participate in the final competition, which will include three contests: the Dead Reckoning course, where students program the robot to drive in a square and stop in an exact location; a maze race; and an open contest for the most original program design.

For details on the program, contact Burman at 608.789.4773. For information on other Western Technical College programs and services, call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at