The Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council and the Children's Museum of Blacksburg,
with the Tuxedo Pandas FTC 4924 and Let's Code Blacksburg,
as well as the Roanoke Robotics Club present

RoboParade 2014

Show off your robot! Come celebrate robotics!
Learn new programming and building Ideas!
Build a robot that follows a line, celebrating wheels of wagons!
May 31, 2014

Pre-qualifications, Workshops and Table-top displays: 10:00 - 12:00 pm
Parade: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

The Roanoke Blacksburg Technology Council, in conjunction with the Children's Museum of Blacksburg and the Roanoke Robotics Club, is organizing our Fourth Annual indoor Robot Parade with seminars and table-top exhibits at the Children's Museum of Blacksburg at 1st & Main. The parade features robot floats constructed and programmed by students of all ages. Attendees of the parade will be able to see fully autonomous robot floats that follow the parade route while detecting other robots in front of them. The robot floats are programmed to stop and start without human help. Floats may have extra mechanisms and programming to show off during the parade route. The theme this year is Wheels & Wagons, in honor of the 1st & Main Children's Festival! Build a robot that represents any time of wheel or wagon, from tricycle to fire engine wagons!

We will host workshops before the parade to build a robot. Workshop space is limited and requires admission fee to the Children's Museum.
(Pictured above: the 2013 Roanoke RoboParade Participants)

This year, the Tuxedo Pandas will again be helping the robots stay on the track, conducting our build-it-yourself workshop, and running their own RoboParade entries.  The Tuxedo Pandas represented Virginia at the FIRST Robotics World Championship in 2013 and would love to help you start your own FIRST robotics team, whether it is FIRST Lego League, FIRST Tech Challenge, or FIRST Robotics Competition!

RoboParade Medallion
Earn this medallion if your robot completes the parade route!
The RoboParade is a successful annual event first initiated by Lawrence Technical University in 2006.

Team Registration and Qualification:
  • A team can enter only one robot float. If a coach has multiple robotic floats, please register multiple teams.
  • The parade will be conducted continuously from 1:00-2:30 pm. Participants may join and remove their floats at any time.  Register online at There will be various technical workshops for registered teams and the interested public. Workshop space is limited and requires registration with the children's museum, plus normal admission. Exhibition opportunities are available if your team would like to display and man a table-top exhibit.
  • A team can have up to 7 team members.
  • Students of any age or academic level, including college, may participate.
  • Registration is FREE!
  • Each team must qualify their robot on a test parade using the actual parade route to ensure that all robot vehicles meet the specifications and functional requirements provided below. A short length of test track and parade official will be on hand Saturday morning, 10:30-11:30am. Please allow plenty of time for qualifying. There are also workshop opportunities Saturday morning and exhibits to see, plus it is a great opportunity to see the Wheels & Wagons Festival.
  • The first half of the parade is designated for slower robots. The second half favors the faster-traveling robots.
  • If the team’s robot passes the test, then the float ID (flag) will be given. Without the flag, robots cannot participate in the official parade to be started around 1pm. There will be no exceptions.
  • Teams that successfully complete the parade route will receive an RBTC RoboParade medallion (pictured above).

Want to know more? Watch the Fox News video!

Robot Requirements:
  • Robot type: any, as long as it is fully autonomous.
  • Number of robot controllers, sensors, or motors: unlimited.
  • Size: Width and Length limitations are only based on the width of the route. See the next section.
  • There is no limitation on height or weight.
  • The rear part of your float should be flat in case the robot behind is using touch sensors.
  • Each robot may have its own sponsor logos. Each robot is required to carry a small flag with a number, which will be given if the robot passes the qualification test.
  • The course direction is counterclockwise. That is, all curves will be left-hand turns.
  • Program requirements:
  • Robot must have a reliable program to follow a black line on a bright surface.
  • Robot must have the ability to detect a vehicle in front of it and stop; then automatically re-start when the vehicle in front has cleared.
  • Wireless interaction between the robot and team players using sound, ultrasonic, radio or light sensors is encouraged. Perhaps to activate a crowd-pleasing activity such as dispensing candy (must not interfere with track), waving a hand, or pedaling a model tricycle!
  • Robot speed requirements: 4 to 8 cm/sec for the slower phase, or 8 to 18cm/sec for the faster phase. Be sure to clock your robot on straight as well as curved track!

* This parade is planned for outdoors, so be prepared for very bright light, or overcast skies, with your line follower program.

Official Parade Route
Plastic folding tables (30” x 72”) will be used for the parade route. These are typically referred to as Rubbermaid,  Lifetime, or other brand folding tables with a white plastic top surface and will be covered with a thick white roll of paper. You can find the tables at local discount stores like K-mart or Lowe’s for around $50. Robofest Games ( use the same tables. 

Standard electrical tape (black) is used to make a closed rectangular shape with 4 rounded corners as shown in the short test table pictured below. 2” wide masking tape will be used to connect and hold tables. BE PREPARED for a small bump at the table interface.

The following dimension and shape is approximates the official parade route.

At least three loops around the course is encouraged, but only one complete circuit is required to receive the participation medallion.


Helpful Links:

Build your own line follower robot with ideas from such as the Line Follower
Line Follower building instructions modified especially for the Robot Parade (Uses an NXT 1.0 or NXT 2.0 kit)

Programs for the line follower robot, using the NXT-G language that comes with Lego NXT kits

Design Considerations and the basics of line following, from Lawrence Technical University’s Robofest workshops

Roanoke Robotics Club

Let's Code Blacksburg

Like Let's Code Blacksburg on Facebook

Organizers wish to thank Lawrence Tech for their advice and assistance.
The RoboParade is a fun and motivating event to promote cooperation, harmony and creativity. We hope you will be a part of it! Please direct all questions via email to; The event is open to the public and admission is free for the parade outside the children's museum, weather permitting. The museum will be open, and admission charges still apply: see for hours and rates. Like the Children's Museum on Facebook.

In the event of rain, indoor parade space is planned!