The FIRST Lego League is designed to teach children, age nine to fourteen years old, how to research, identify, and solve real world problems by creating a robot with Legos. Each team is coached by two or more adults. Their job is to assist the children with their design but not to solve the problem for them. At the end of their season, the team enter a competition where they showcase their understanding of robotic design and programming. They are given twelve different tasks, each with different point values assigned to them. The children must create a robot, only using Lego pieces, that can complete as many of these tasks in the time provided.
The Rad Dogs Team from Fort Belvoir, VA presented to the IAI Robotics Group. It was a great opportunity for the children to present their idea and to showcase their thought process. This year, they were required to come up with a solution for a household pet’s separation anxiety when their owners leave the home, as well as build a Lego Robot for their competition. The team designed a robot that people can control via their smartphone or a web browser allowing them to “play” with their pet while they are at work. They planned out what the robot would look like and what materials they would need to manufacture it.
After the presentation, our Lead Robotics Engineer Gordon Franken walked the children through our Robotics lab. He showed the children the Baxter Robot we have been designing technology for and the RUMI robot that IAI has developed for the FHWA. The entire team was ecstatic to see the two 3D printers in our Robotics Lab. It seems they had been doing a lot of research into these kinds of printers because they had believed it would be the cheapest way to manufacture their robotics.