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Johnson City, TN – January 27th, 2024– ETSU, Basler Center for Physical Activity, in collaboration with STREAMWORKS, is proud to announce the annual Robot Drone League (RDL) Competition taking place on January 27th, 2024, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. This exciting event will bring together students from diverse backgrounds to compete in a collaborative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) game format. Admission is free for the general public.






The RDL Competition is designed to engage students in hands-on, student-centered learning, fostering essential skills for the 21st Century workforce. This year's challenge revolves around finding innovative solutions to address global food scarcity issues using cutting-edge BioBuilder technology. BioBuilder, established in 2011 by an award-winning teaching team at MIT, offers exceptional programming for both students and educators in the field of synthetic biology.

RDL SCARECROW unfolds on a 7.3 m by 11.0 m indoor field, featuring simulated agricultural fields, water and power sources, and a BioBuilder Accelerator to facilitate the creation of synthetic biology. The competition involves four teams competing as red or blue alliances, with both sides mirroring each other. Participants will tackle real-world agricultural challenges, emphasizing machine design and collaboration to maximize their scores.


Teams in this challenge have partnered with BioBuilder to combat crop infestations caused by fungi and insects that threaten agricultural crops worldwide. Instead of relying on pesticides, teams are tasked with researching and developing disease-resistant crop samples using BioBuilders’ promoters and mobile accelerators. Drones will play a crucial role in restoring power lines, mapping the land, taking water samples, and more, while robots will handle tasks such as crop harvesting, solar panel placement, and waterline repair.


A strong emphasis on computer science programming is central to RDL, with drones and robots executing tasks such as retrieving water samples, planting engineered DNA strands of disease-resistant corn seeds, activating alliance beacons, and recording STEM questions relevant to this year's challenge. Students will collaborate to create complex algorithms and code for autonomous drone and robot operations.


The RDL Competition aligns with educational standards such as the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), Common Core, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through Dragonfly's STEM questions and related tasks.


Doors open at 8:00 AM and an Opening Ceremony is scheduled for 9:00 AM. The competition is expected to conclude at 4:00 PM.


For more information about the RDL Competition, please contact:

● Dennis Courtney | CEO Email:

● Betsy Cunningham | Director of Operations Email:


Join us on January 27th, 2024, at the RDL Competition to witness students pioneering solutions to global food scarcity challenges with BioBuilder technology. Your support is vital in nurturing the next generation of innovators and problem solvers.


About BioBuilder: BioBuilder is a pioneering platform that empowers students and educators to explore the exciting field of synthetic biology, offering innovative programming and resources. Visit:


About ETSU: ETSU provides a student-centered community of learning, reflecting high standards and promoting a balance of liberal arts and professional preparation, and continuous improvement. Vist:


NEWS RELEASE SCARECROW 2024 (1)[88] 2_ed
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