First Lego League Nature’s Fury : teaching our youngsters to deal with problems of the real world

In this blog post I’d like to tell you about the experience of my TeknoChisp, team, which took part on 8 March in Madrid’s First Lego League competition, sponsored by GMV and organized by Universidad Camilo José Cela.

NaturesFury_III_redTeknoChisp is a team made up by nine 10-14-year olds, which has pulled off a magnificent result after two years of hard graft. This effort was rewarded this year with the Enterprise Cup thanks to a groundbreaking solution in the search for survivors after earthquakes; the award was also a recognition of their never-say-die spirit during the preparation of the competition (for months, for example, they were struggling with the type and size of wheels that would ensure best turning precision).

At this same tournament the young kids team (6-9 years old), the TeknoChispis, were also congratulated for their earthquake-proof building mockup.

Other competitors at First Lego League Madrid included the Go4It team (Kings College of Tres Cantos), which has been coached for many years by our colleague Pedro López. Go4It won this year the FLL Core Values Cup, which recognizes their long track record and team spirit.

Our colleague Myriam Sierra handed over the Robot Design Cup to the Digisilents team. Myriam’s prize-giving speech stressed the values of innovation, originality and technological skill showed by FLL competitors, who are our budding engineers and scientists of the future.

Both the TeknoChisp and TeknoChispis team members study at Madrid’s Colegio Montepellier (1st primary year to 3rd secondary year). Every Saturday morning we get together to learn how to program Lego robots (EV3, NXT and WeDo). We follow the STEM methodology (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and have now been participating in the First Lego League (FLL) for several years.

NaturesFury_IIEvery year FLL sets a worldwide challenge that more than 200,000 youngsters from 60 countries around the world then set out to solve with groundbreaking robotics ideas.  This year’s challenge, focusing on natural disasters (Nature’s Fury: quakes, tsunamis, cyclones, fires, etc), had 3 parts:

  • FLL Core Values: These values express the tournament’s overarching ideas of friendly competition, respect for others and teamwork.
  • Robot Game: The aim here is design, build and program a robot to solve different missions on a competition table (237 x 115 cm) as a two-and-a-half minute time trial. An explanation also has to be given of the robot-building process, the strategy followed in test selection and programming.
  • Scientific project: A jury presentation is made of the research carried out on a real problem related to the overall challenge, proposing a groundbreaking solution.

NaturesFury_IThe TeknoChisp chose to focus on earthquakes and proposed the “Mantiboty” robot, taking its inspiration from a six-legged praying mantis and based on a Raspberry Pi / BrickPi card and Lego engines. Its six legs would enable it to pick its way through post-earthquake rubble, detect survivors using a thermal imager and send GPS coordinates to the 112 Emergency Center.

Madrid is one of the knock-out rounds of the First Lego League® within Spain, which this year hosted over 20 tournaments in various cities. A week ago the Spanish Grande Final was held in Barcelona, the winners going on to the Open European Championship in Pamplona (28-31 de Mayo) and the World Festival Championship (Missouri, USA April 23-26).

GMV is determined to help develop budding talent in the technology world and therefore carries out a series of activities designed to arouse a passion for engineering and technology amongst youngsters.

So I urge you to follow our example! :) (my group would be delighted to accept any volunteers who want to teach programming skills to youngsters). 

Author : Alberto Medina

GMV’s Head of Robotics and coach of the TeknoChisp team

Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV
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