06 February 2014
Three teens from the Simon Langton schools in Canterbury have won a trip to the World Lego Festival in America after winning the UK National Final of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FIRST LEGO League (FLL).
Oli English, Emma English and Carlos Purchase-Galarza, who made up the ‘Invicta’ team, beat off competition from 29 other teams at the event at Loughborough University on Saturday 1 February to be crowned UK FLL Champions.
One of the winning team, 14-year-old Carlos said: “I thought the final was fun, enjoyable and well-organised. Last year we went to Germany [for the European Championships] so it will be interesting to see how the competition was different.”
Carlos’s father, John Purchase, said: “The team were elated to win – they are now bubbling with ideas to raise money for the trip to America, and to push the project and the robots further.”
This year’s competition – entitled ‘Nature’s Fury’ – challenged teams from across the UK and Ireland to find a solution to tackle the effects of natural disasters. The team, named ‘Invicta’, invented a hi-tech wristband for those affected by earthquakes, designed to help rescue workers find people trapped under rubble using radio waves.
Each team was also tasked with building a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot that could undertake a number of small tasks, like lifting a small house, or moving pets and people to safety.
Ahmed Kotb, IET Project Manager for FLL, said: “All of the teams worked really hard in the run up to the tournament and we saw some impressive designs and robotics on the day. Team Invicta particularly wowed the judges with their innovative project, core values and well-designed robot.”
Each team, made up of 9 to 16 year olds, were tasked with designing and programming a LEGO MINDSTORMS robot. The robot had to then solve a range of problems and tasks. Teams were judged on their ability to build and programme the robot, their presentation and research skills and how well they cooperated with each other and their competitors.
Each school had 8 to 10 weeks to prepare for the regional events, with 24 regional tournaments taking place across the country since November 2013.
Expectations are high for this year’s finalists, after last year’s UK winners – Untitled-1 – triumphed in America and were crowned the FIRST LEGO League World Champions – the first time a UK & Ireland team have won the World Festival
The Institution of Engineering and Technology is the operating partner of FIRST LEGO League in the UK, as part of the Institution’s aim to introduce young people to the excitement of science, technology and engineering.
For the first time, FIRST LEGO League UK was sponsored by Bechtel. Peter Dawson, President of Bechtel’s global civil infrastructure business, said: “Building for the future is what we do every day. An important part of that is working with organisations such as FIRST LEGO League and the IET, in schools all over the world to help engage students in science and technology. We are delighted to support students in this exciting robotics tournament that encourages innovation and helps to build tomorrow’s engineers.”