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What is BEST?

Each team is given a kit of parts which they use to construct a robot. This kit includes parts such as wood and PVC, along with the RC components necessary to control the robot. However, teams are allow to create one custom part. The final robot must fit in a 2 foot cube at the beginning of each round of competition; once a round has started, the robot can expand to be bigger than this size with retractable arms, etc. The robot must also weigh under 24 pounds.

The game task is different each year, but historically the robot has often needed an arm with different grabbing abilities. Several years the game has centered on team work to try and get students to work together. The winning teams from local competition sites, or hubs, advance to regional championship sites after the local competition has ended.

BEST is a national organization. To learn more about events in other areas and across the USA, visit http://www.bestrobotics.org/. Here is an overview of the BEST program. The Music City BEST Team Handbook gives a comprehensive understanding of the competition, the program and provides a roadmap for leading a successful team.

Music City BEST is proud to have three great sponsors for the competition: Lipscomb University, Nissan, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). These sponsors provide the funds and facilities that make it possible for schools to participate with no entry fee. They also provide a large portion of the volunteers that it takes to pull of this event.

The only expenses a team incurs are those associated with team meetings, team tee shirts, travel to the competition, etc.

The dates for each year's game season are determined by late spring or early summer and will be announce in May/June timeframe (latest) when team registration is opened. Our process for registration is that current Music City BEST teams, those returning from last year's competition, are given first opportunity to register. Next, if we have been contacted by a team that has competed in BEST at another location but needs a new location or by a former Music City BEST team, they get second consideration. Finally, the remaining slots are given to new teams. We select new teams based on an assessment of viability. That is, we prioritize the list of new team applicants based on how viable it appears they are for succeeding in the program. The good news is that since we started hosting this competition, we have not had to turn any new team away. We have always had enough slots for the number of teams interested. However, as you might anticipate, interest grows every year, so we have implemented this process in the event we cannot accept all teams that are interested.

The Music City BEST hub is hosted by Lipscomb University School of Engineering. The hub director is Gary Saakian. If you want to learn more about our hub, please contact Janice Cato at janice.cato@lipscomb.edu.janice.cato@lipscomb.edu.