Pt 143

FIRST® LEGO League @Google This is cool to see, imagine if every “tech company” hosted a LEGO league in some way? The kids at these events today, are the engineers of tomorrow…

This was Google’s 6th year hosting the tournament, which took place in Charlie’s Cafe on main campus. Googler Glenn Trewitt, a software engineer, is the tournament director and recruits fellow Googlers (about 25-30 of them) to volunteer as judges, referees, and tournament volunteers. This year, we had 16 teams made up of 9-14 year olds from the Bay Area and Peninsula competing.

During the competition portion, we had two ping pong-sized table laid out side by side, on which these homegrown robots raced against the clock to complete various physical tasks, all having to do with this year’s theme, food safety. This year, it was each robot’s job to put some common foods through just a few of the paths they usually follow to get to your belly. So, for example, the robots had to pick up, carry, and then empty dispensers of “bacteria” into a “sink.” For detailed descriptions of the challenges, please see the attached PDF. An MC gave “play-by-plays” of the action, while parents and coaches crowded around, cheering and taking photographs. The action was broadcast on a jumbo screen for all to see. Referees in black-and-white striped shirts started and stopped the clock and kept their eyes out for penalties.

Upstairs, the teams visited with three different sets of judges. One panel of judges asked students about their robot (how they designed it, how it worked), while another set asked about core values (how they worked together as a team, how they learned, their spirit, camaraderie, etc.). In front of the third set of judges, the teams presented their research projects (on this year’s theme of food safety) and answered questions.

At the end of the day, awards were announced. Nibbles & Bytes took home the Core Values award, Decon Droids won the award for best Research Project, the Xtreme Creators won for Robot Design, and the Flying Cougar Cyborgs won for Robot Performance. The overall champions were the LegoNauts.

Seven teams advanced to the regional competition, which will take place in January (not at Google). Those teams are:

Nibbles & Bytes
Legonauts
Xtreme Creators
It’s Not My Fault
SAP4BOYS
Joack
Flying Cougar Cyborgs

Photos here