CDP mentor young engineers who go on to win the UK fist Lego League
FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) is a global science and technology challenge for teams of students from 9 to 16 years, which encourages interest in science and technology and can develop key skills that are crucial for their future careers. The students work together to explore a topic and to design, build and program an autonomous LEGO robot to solve a series of missions.
CDP engineers have been mentoring our local team ‘B6 Berrellium’, and we are very pleased to report that last month they won the UK First Lego League in Bristol.
B6 comprises of six members, Albert, Quim, Oscar, Joan, Iona & Lluis, aged from 11 – 15 years. If you spend more than five minutes in a room with them you can’t fail to be impressed by their enthusiasm, creativity and ingenuity.
B6 first knocked on CDP’s door last year, as they’d heard ‘there was lots of cool stuff happening’ in our Cambridge R&D centre, and asked for a tour. We showed them the labs, Hackspace, workshops, and some of the products we have designed that are now on sale. Their enthusiasm soared on discovery that CDP staff have been both FLL contestants and judges in the past, and that we were only too happy to offer some advice and guidance.
From then on, CDP’s Adam Pledger, Oliver Hart, Mike Worth and Stuart Curtis had regular get-togethers with B6 to discuss potential projects for the FLL competition. With this year theme being Animal Allies, B6 settled on working out how they could use technology to protect honey bees from Asian hornets. For our mentors this meant trying to bring a practical perspective to some extremely ambitious technical solutions as the B6 team bounced ideas off each other. We empathised as we do the same thing here every day!
The second part of FLL competition is the Robot Game where they must build and program a robot to autonomously complete a series of missions. Each time we met they updated us on their progress. One requirement was to transfer barrels from one end of the board to the other in a limited time period with all machinery starting off in one corner. Their solution was to build a deployable structure to bridge the gap and send the barrels all in one go, which required lateral thinking, neat design and careful planning.
These solutions allowed B6 to win the UK FLL competition. The next challenge is to take their project and robot to the FLL World Festival in St Louis, USA in April and we wish them luck!
To find out more about B6 Berrellium, visit their website (www.b6lego.co.uk) or tweet them @berrellium.