Advertiser - 2011

Teenage engineers off to the US

CANDICE KELLER, The Advertiser

February 15, 2011 9:56am


LEGO has become much more than child's play for this team of Trinity College students.

Piecing together a fully functional, intuitive robot from Lego has earned the group, known as Team Bacon, an amazing opportunity to travel to the United States and compete against other budding engineers from around the world.

The seven Trinity College students are setting up a career in engineering through international competition the First Lego League. In the competition, middle-school students have eight weeks to build and program a Lego robot that can complete a series of challenges on tournament day.

The challenges assess navigational, sorting and identification and physical capabilities.

The second part of the program was a biomedical research project through which the boys designed and manufactured a collapsible spacer, used by asthma sufferers for administering their puffer medication.

Team Bacon won the Australian research project award and people's choice award at the national final, leading to their invitation to compete at the First World Festival, which hosts the Lego League.

Head of testing and development Daniel Woods, 15, said it had been a great experience and the boys were looking forward to competing in St Louis, Missouri in April.

"We can't believe it, it's going to be the greatest thing ever," he said.

The boys have not only learnt engineering and programming skills but also team work, time management, marketing and leadership. Daniel said it had also inspired their career preferences.

"We were all close before and had an idea of where we wanted to go, but this has brought it to the next level and hopefully we can go through our careers together too," he said.

Defence company BAE Systems has offered some of the boys work experience placements.

In the lead-up to April they are fine-tuning their robot, the Beast, and raising funds for their trip, to study further while in America.

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