Kingston students compete in Lego robotics competition

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Teams face off against one another, programming their robots to compete different tasks before the clock runs out – Nov 19, 2017

Dozens of students from Grades 5 to 8 filled Duncan McArthur Hall on Saturday for robotics competition using Lego as building material.

The theme of this year’s Kingston FIRST Lego League Qualifying Tournament was “Hydro Dynamics.”

The students need to “try to accomplish as many things as they can to score the most points in two-and-half minutes,” said tournament director Brennan Bibic.

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Each team must complete tasks related to the theme, such as flipping Lego-made manhole covers and fixing broken pipes.

“We program it on the computer, then download it to the brick,” said competitor Cormag Kilfoyle, from Team Waffles. “Then when we run the brick, it will do the specific actions that we program it to do.”

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It’s a game of trial and error, and it isn’t always easy to input the correct programming to complete the missions, participants note.

“When you get it right… it’s great. But every once in a while, when maybe it knocks over things or you get a penalty… it’s not great,” said Izabella Zaremba from Team Rideau Rhinobots.

Teams are also graded on their Lego design and their unique research projects, which are also related to the water theme.

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For example, Team Comet Warriors developed a way to save 15,000 litres of water a year by using a cheap programmable computer that will sense when you’re in the room and warm up the shower water for you, something the group believes could lead to households saving money.

“To make ours better, we would have a better pump which pumps 500 per cent more than others, which is two gallons per minute,” said Comet Warriors member Nicolas Benavides.

The winning team will head to Oshawa in January to compete in the Ontario East Provincials.

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