LEGO Robotics

Everyone knows that LEGO is cool. What could be better? Robots made of LEGO parts and pieces, operated by local students.

There will be a LEGO Robotics tournament at Mountain View High School on Saturday, December 8th. It’s open to the public and free to attend. The opening ceremony will be held at 9:00 am and the tournament action starts at 9:30 am. An awards ceremony starts at 3:00 pm. 21 teams from Bend, Redmond, Prineville, Madras, Powell Butte, and Sisters are registered to compete.

Every year there are different challenges; this time around the game is called “Senior Solutions”. In addition to programming a LEGO Mindstorms robot to perform tasks associated with the theme the kids have to research obstacles experienced by senior citizens and then suggest ways to improve their quality of life.

The “Robot Performance Competition” will be in the main gymnasium. This part of the tournament is the most fun to watch and it’s also open to the public. From the tournament description:

The Performance Competition is the centerpiece of the tournament competitions. For our tournament, there will be one pair of Competition tables. The pair of tables has two 4- by 8-ft. single competition tables positioned next to each other so that the ball mechanism spans the two walls according to the official set-up rules.

Two teams play simultaneously at a table pair. Your team will have 5-minutes at the table each time they are up. Your 5-minute time slot will consist of 1 minute to prepare for the match, 2-1/2 minutes for your robot to attempt the Challenge missions, and 1-1/2 minutes to tally results, clean up and move out to make room for the next team.

It’s really fun to see all the different creations, and cheer on the teams. Think of all the excitement of a sporting event, except with robots.

I know at the robotics tournaments for the high school level you can also walk around the “pit” areas (where teams can gather and tinker with their inventions), look at the team’s setups, and talk to the students. I’m not sure if that area is open to the public for this event. Either way, it’s fun to watch these kids and their inventions in action.

If you want to learn more, visit the event page or the ORTOP website.

Note: The Mountain View High School robotics team, High Desert Droids, is a supporter of this event and I’m a mentor for the group. I’ll be supervising some of the high school volunteers so be sure to stop by and say hello if you come to the event.