The Day the Robots Came to Eugene

Gather 12 robots, 7 teams, 9 presenters and hundreds of kids and what do you get? The first annual McKenzie River Gathering of Robots!

On Saturday, November 10, SERT welcomed robotics teams from all over Oregon to Eugene and to the beautiful Ford Alumni Center. We shared knowledge, experiences, and techniques via workshops, robot demonstrations, and both academic and technical posters.

We even got to see a robot shoot baskets from the floor of Matt Knight Arena! Special thanks to our friends from Beaverton for making that happen.

And because we opened the event to the community, we also got to see dozens of young kids drive robots and watch in fascination as they controlled something built by kids only just a little older than themselves. Importantly, young girls had the chance to see female members of the FIRST teams and realize, maybe for the first time, that programming, building, and operating robots was something they can do, too.

To SERT, this is what robotics is all about, and something we want to see every day – the faces of kids who may have just discovered what they might want to do for the rest of their lives.

Thanks to our planning partners, Lane STEM and the UO Computer Science Department, for helping with all the logistics. And special thanks to both our tech industry partners – XS Media, Concentric Sky and CBT Nuggets – and to the cities of Eugene and Springfield for providing generous sponsor dollars that made the day possible.

Check out this great clip from KVAL News to get a sense of the day!