Craighead Co. top contender to become next Silicon Valley?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new business report lists Craighead County as one of 20 places in America that is an ideal technology hub.

Students at Buffalo Island Central High School show potential for becoming local tech industry experts.  A team of 22 spent six weeks building a robot and obstacle course, and preparing a research report for the Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) competition.  The competition is designed to engage and educate middle and high school robotics about engineering, math and science.

Arkansas State University department of computer science faculty established a local competition program. "For the last six years, we've taken this program out into the northeast Arkansas community, beating the bushes looking for the next Steve Jobs," said Dr. Edward Hammerand.

The students used basic materials to build a 24-pound robot. "(It is) an automated machine that we control by remote control from several feet away.  We had six weeks to build, and we had to build that thing from the ground up," said Trevor Drury.

BICHS senior Amber Rolland wrote the research component of the project. "We have to compile a 50-page engineering notebook that basically just documents our construction process."

The students won first place in the robotics division and BEST division at the 2011 BEST competition. They hope to win the regional competition in December.

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