Michael Vawter (aka “The Robot Guy”) won 1st place out of 10,000 teams from 39 countries at the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition two years in a row, was inducted into the National Gallery for Young Inventors, and has published peer-reviewed vision science.
Michael’s passion for LEGO robotics began at the age of 9 when he got his first LEGO MINDSTORMS set. He built a robot that turned off his bedroom lights automatically, which saved him from getting in trouble for leaving them on. As a middle schooler, Michael was lead programmer, builder, tester, and handler for the MindStorm Troopers FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team. They competed for four years, becoming the first (and only?) team to win 1st place Robot Performance at the FLL World Festival two years in a row. Michael later co-founded the Robot Academy and has taught thousands of students how to master LEGO robotics. He’s been featured in Popular Science Magazine, and was on TV with Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Michael graduated from Denison University in 2011 and went on to earn a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation from Seton Hill. He has continued to contribute to the FLL community by serving as a judge and referee at the state and world level. He has also coached and mentored teams of his own (some of whom have won international titles of their own). In his ongoing career as a robotics teacher, Michael helps students and teachers to analyze and solve technological problems more creatively by integrating their right-brain and left-brain capacities.