PITTSBURGH, April 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- For years it's been said that robots are the way of the future. In southwestern Pennsylvania, robots are helping to create a workforce development program for the future. The Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ program strives to open high school students' eyes to potential careers in the manufacturing or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
BotsIQ is an educational robotics competition in which high school-age students are taught to design, build and battle robots (referred to as "bots") in a gladiator-style competition. Reinforcing Bayer MaterialScience's commitment to supporting STEM education and initiatives, as well as the workforce of the southwestern Pennsylvania region, Bayer donated its Makrolon® 15 polycarbonate sheet for use in the BotsIQ arena for the 2014 competition at California University of Pennsylvania.
The Makrolon® 15 polycarbonate sheet provides impact, abrasion and scratch resistance that can stand up to the demands of the robot arena, while retaining its optical clarity.
Students participating in BotsIQ work with a robotics curriculum based on the National Curriculum Standards of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) mechanical engineering methodology. Now in its ninth year, the Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ program continues to grow, involving approximately 800 high school students from 51 different schools this year. To accommodate the increased participation, a larger second arena was needed to stage the bots competitions.
"The BotsIQ committee explained to us that the bots have advanced in both quality and speed. The new arena needs to withstand this increased wear and tear without sacrificing clarity," said Dennis Duff, managing director, Polycarbonate Sheet Business, NAFTA, Bayer MaterialScience LLC. "Makrolon® 15 sheet fits the bill. It's virtually unbreakable and also has an excellent hard coat to protect against abrasions and scratching that could cloud spectators' views." The new arena is approximately 12.5 feet square, features a steel floor and is encased in half-inch-thick Makrolon® 15 polycarbonate sheet connected with steel supports.
In addition to donating its materials, Bayer provided technical support for the new arena and overall support for the program. "We're very appreciative of Bayer's material donation and support of our initiative," said Phyllis Miller, chairperson, Southwestern Pennsylvania organizing committee. "Without this donation, we wouldn't have been able to have a second arena. Bayer understands the importance of what BotsIQ is trying to accomplish and supports its mission."
The new BotsIQ arena will debut April 25, during a two-day finals competition at California University of Pennsylvania. Representatives from Bayer MaterialScience will be on hand to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony and watch the competition.
BotsIQ was brought to the Pittsburgh region in 2005 through efforts of the Pittsburgh Chapter National Tooling and Machining Association with support from local manufacturers, educators and workforce development organizations.
About Bayer MaterialScience LLC:
Bayer MaterialScience LLC is one of the leading producers of high-performance plastics in North America and is part of the global Bayer MaterialScience business with approximately 14,300 employees at 30 production sites around the world and 2013 sales of 11.2 billion euros. Bayer MaterialScience, a Bayer Group company, manufactures high-tech polymer materials and develops innovative solutions for products used in many areas of daily life. The main segments served are the automotive, electrical and electronics, construction, medical, and sports and leisure industries.
For more information about Bayer MaterialScience LLC's Makrolon® polycarbonate sheet products, contact Sales at 800-254-1707 or visit www.sheffieldplastics.com.
For more information about Southwestern Pennsylvania BotsIQ, visit http://www.botsiqpa.org/index.asp.
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SOURCE Bayer MaterialScience LLC