On December 11th, Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon Campus Conference Center was turned into a Florida Lego League (FLL) 2010 Qualifying Tournament site. This was the second year HCC and FLATE hosted this exciting event and attendance was well over 300 people. Anxious parents, teachers and coaches watched as 24 teams from elementary and middle schools throughout the Tampa Bay area competed for points in order to compete at one of the five Florida Regional events. This group of students is part of the 56,000 children in North America and 32,460 children from 35 countries internationally participating in the high-energy sports-like tournaments.
All FIRST Robotic Competitions help young people discover the fun in science and technology while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating them to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. Above all, it teaches the value of ‘Gracious Professionalism’, a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community.
The FLL challenge this year is called “2010 Body Forward” in which teams explore the cutting edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions and lead happier and healthier lives. The challenge itself has two parts: the Project (the problem to be solved) and the Robot Game (making a working model of the solution utilizing various Lego pieces, motors and the NXT programming).
Some of the problems to be solved are : applying a cast to a broken bone, inserting a bone bridge, do a rapid blood screening and bad cell destruction, mechanical arm patent, performing a cardiac patch, insert a pacemaker, nerve mapping, design an auto-dispensing medicine device and robot sensitivity. Each team has only 2.5 minutes to complete as many tasks as possible at which point the results are judged and points distributed.
In addition to the competition itself, the teams are also interviewed privately and awarded points for Design/Programming, Research/Presentation and Core Values/Teamwork. So, along with the accumulation of the robot competition points, the teams have many others ways to build up their final scores.
After an accumulated 1,000+ hours of mind boggling problem solving and 7 hours of competitions the four teams winning the “Golden Ticket” were ‘Team Technoforce’, ‘The RoboPanthers,’ ‘Brick Buddies’ and ‘RoboCourgars’. They are now off to one of the five Florida Regional events and if successful at this level, they will move on to the Florida State Championships.