JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
The robots may be made of plastic, and their designers aren’t yet old enough to drive – yet both creator and creation are set to take to the world stage, as two Illawarra teams represent their country against the best in the world in the International level of the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL).
In recent years, Wollongong has emerged as a powerful force in the FLL: an international robotics and science tournament for children aged 9-16. In 2010 Project Bucephalus was the only Illawarra-based team. In 2013 this had risen to 14 teams – most trained by Project Bucephalus, but all equal competitors in their own right. The strength of these teams was shown in the December 2013 Australian National FLL Championships: four Illawarra teams were amongst the 36 chosen from around the country to gather and compete at Australia’s highest level.
The level of competition was incredibly high overall, with teams excelling in Robot Design and Performance, Research and Core Values. When final results were announced, there was cause for celebration amongst the Illawarra teams. Komplete Kaos Inc. (Helensburgh) came 2nd overall, and brought home the Research Award. Project Bucephalus (Illawarra Home-schoolers) came in 5th and were awarded the Inspiration Trophy.
Both teams were subsequently selected to represent Australia, and are now off to the international field to compete against the best teams in the world – drawn from the 20,000+ FLL teams worldwide. Komplete Kaos Inc. will travel to the Open European Championship in Spain (May), whilst Project Bucephalus will compete in the International Open in Canada (June).
Far from being rivals, these two Illawarra teams have always enjoyed a close relationship. Project Bucephalus have mentored and assisted Komplete Kaos Inc. since their inception. Team members have formed close friendships and look forward to a competitive and friendly environment overseas, where we will see these inspiring youth of the Illawarra compete, learn and create links with their international counterparts. This is an exceptional academic result for the region!
As participation in the FLL is a self-funded activity, both teams are seeking to fundraise the considerable amounts of money required to attend their respective competitions. Keep an eye out for various activities and challenges offered to Illawarra inhabitants over the next few months!
Anyone interested in aiding either team or finding out more should contact:
- Andrew Clark from Project Bucephalus (https://www.projectb.net.au/) or
- Lillian Pang from Komplete Kaos Inc. (http://kompletekaosinc.weebly.com/).
FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a US-based charity which runs a number of programs seeking to inspire children to take an interest in science and technology. Their mission is to:
“…inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well- rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.”
Find out more at: www.firstlegoleague.org.