Acadia Robotics Competition Tackles Transportation


(Wolfville, N.S.) - More than 300 students from across Nova Scotia will converge on Acadia University to compete in two exciting robot programming competitions on Saturday, January 30. This year's event will challenge students to solve transportation problems, navigate a complex maze, and find the quickest tour around a set of cities.

"These challenges are meant to introduce students to the fun and experience of working together to solve real-world problems by applying math, science, engineering, and technology skills," says Daniel Silver, Director of the Jodrey School of Computer Science at Acadia University.

"It is essential that as Nova Scotians we develop science skills at home," he explains. "More and more, technology is looked at as something that is created somewhere else, and that doesn't bode well for the future. This competition hopes to offset that."

The 4th annual FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) Smart Moves Challenge will feature 24 teams of students ages 9-14.  To successfully complete the Challenge, teams must build and program a LEGO MINDSTORMSâ robot to explore the best way to move people, goods, services and data around the world. With missions including exploring how to plan efficient routes and sequences, climb steep ramps, respond to changing conditions, travel along narrow bridges with no guard rails, and endure crash tests, teams will have to program their robots to explore the growing questions around how to make transportation more efficient.

"Smart Move gives kids a hands-on, real world experience allowing them to use their imaginations and creativity in combination with science and technology, and lets them experience first-hand the very real and exhilarating struggle that even the top leaders and inventors in the world face," said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder. 

Each September, FIRST LEGO League announces the annual Challenge to teams, engaging them in authentic scientific research and hands-on robotics design. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO play materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program robots to complete missions based on real-world challenges. After 4 intense months, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments.

The 5th Acadia High School Robot Programming Competition (grades 10 to 12), will feature 19 high school student teams competing to build and program robots to complete timed challenges, such as traveling salesman line-tracking, complex maze navigation, and object removal.  These challenges, developed at Acadia, require ingenuity of robot design, use of various sensors and the design and development of sophisticated software.  These high school teams use the same LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies but often employ more advanced programming and engineering methods.  Previous competitions have demonstrated the creativity of Nova Scotia high school students and their skills in using math, engineering and computer science principals. Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. and the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Workforce Development are major sponsors for this year's FLL competition.

"Michelin is proud to play an active role in the community and we are thrilled to sponsor the FIRST LEGO ® League event at Acadia," says Dennis Langille, Technical Manager of the Michelin Waterville facility. "Our business relies on innovation and discovery through science and technology, and we believe the FLL is an excellent way to inspire children to be curious, to explore new ideas and to be innovative."

"This contest is an excellent way to challenge students to blend technology with their boundless imagination to solve a real-world problem," says Marilyn More, Minister of Labour and Workforce Development. "University students represent one of our greatest resources and we look forward to these bright minds applying their skills in Nova Scotia's evolving and advancing workforce."

The competitions are judged in four areas: project presentation; robot performance; technical design and programming of the robot; and teamwork. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

Currently in its 11th year, the FLL anticipates the biggest season ever, with 14,725 teams competing in 50 countries. More than 150,000 children will compete.

The Competitions run from 1 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, January 30 at Acadia University's War Memorial Gymnasium and the event is free to the public. For more information, visit http://cs.acadiau.ca/rpc/

       
Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, has long been recognized as one of Canada's premier undergraduate institutions. With its nationally and internationally recognized research initiatives, small classes and technology-rich teaching and learning environment, Acadia offers students an experience that includes academic achievement combined with personal growth and development. For more information about Acadia, visit our website at http://www.acadiau.ca/ .

SPONSORS

Platinum sponsors include: Acadia University, Michelin North America (Canada), Skills Canada, Nova Scotia Labour & Workforce Development, and NSCC , Gold sponsors include: EastLink, and RIM. Silver sponsors are: NSBI and AVR. Bronze sponsors are Apple Canada and eLab Inc.

ABOUT FIRST

Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With the support of many of the world's most well-known companies, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition and FIRST Tech Challenge for high-school students, FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14 years old, and Junior FIRST LEGO League for 6 to 9 year-olds. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org. To learn more about the "Smart Moves"" Challenge, go to http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll/smartmove1.aspx

ABOUT THE LEGO GROUP

LEGO Systems Inc. (LSI) is the Americas (North America and Latin America) division of The LEGO Group, a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen:  "Only the best is good enough."  For more information, visit www.LEGO.com LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. © 2007 The LEGO Group.

 

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