FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a US-based global not-for-profit group dedicated to inspiring young people to become involved in science and technology. The FLL is a Science, Engineering and Technology tournament held in over 50 countries, running with a common global theme each year. Teams of children aged 9-16 are given 8 weeks to attempt the following:
- Robot Challenge: Design, build, and program an autonomous Robot using LEGO© MINDSTORMS© technology, scoring points in a two and a half minute match. Matches consist of a standard set series of challenges incorporating the current year’s theme.
- Technology and Engineering: Show a high level of skill and understanding of the technological and engineering principles used throughout their robot design.
- Teamwork: Complete a teamwork exercise and show a high standard of teamwork through the tournament.
- Research Project: Identify a real world problem within the year’s FLL theme, and conduct an original research project on a potential solution or improvement. This solution must be presented to the community and every effort taken to see it become reality.
- FLL Core Values: Adhere to the FLL’s guiding principles which include Teamwork, Friendly Competition, and Gracious Professionalism.
All these areas are rigorously tested on Tournament day, awards given out in each area. Championship awards are reserved for teams that are the “complete package”, showing excellence in all areas.
The Australian FLL chapter is based out of Macquarie University in Sydney. The FIRST Lego League website can be found at http://firstlegoleague.org.
FLL 2010 and Project Bucephalus:
The 2010 FLL theme was “Body Forward”, and was designed to help us “…explore the cutting-edge world of Biomedical Engineering to discover innovative ways to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximise the body’s potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives…”.
Project Bucephalus focussed on the issue of Diabetes, and designed a Smartphone/PDA application called “Diabet X”, designed to either work wirelessly with an insulin pump, or handle manual input from diabetics relying on injections and blood tests. This project was well researched and designed, and has been presented to a number of community and medical groups to a good reception.