Robots do battle at provincial championships in Oshawa
DURHAM -- More than 400 elementary school students from throughout Ontario brought their robots to do battle at UOIT during the 2012 FIRST LEGO League Ontario East Provincial Championships Saturday...
OSHAWA -- Evan Dim and Jack Paduchowski from the Fatima Falcons participated in the annual FIRST LEGO robotics competition held at UOIT January 12. January 12, 2013
DURHAM -- More than 400 elementary school students from throughout Ontario brought their robots to do battle at UOIT during the 2012 FIRST LEGO League Ontario East Provincial Championships Saturday, Jan. 12.
At the competition for ages nine to 14, five teams from Durham Region faced off against 35 teams from Niagara to Ottawa. Durham teams included the St. Bernadette Wagon Wheels from Ajax, Westcreek Einsteins and Seton Cyber Flyers from Pickering, and Waldo Juniors and Technologix from Whitby. The local techno warriors advanced to the competition after placing first through fifth at a regional qualifying tournament, one of 16 held across the province.
“We were really shocked to win and hear our names called,” said 13-year-old Chayanne Williams from Pickering’s Westcreek Einsteins, who competed for the first time this season, placing third at the regional qualifier.
“I can’t believe how many people are here,” she added while looking around the provincial championships. “It’s a great experience.”
Teams were charged with strategizing, designing, building, programming and testing robots using LEGO Mindstorms technology. Robots competed against each other in various challenges at the event, performing a series of missions within a two-and-a-half minute time limit.
Embracing this year’s challenge theme, seniors solutions, teams were also tasked with creating innovative solutions for challenges faced by seniors.
“We made a product called the seniors care application,” explained 12-year-old Caitlin Abe Gokool of the Westcreek Einsteins. “It’s a piece of technology that helps seniors do multiple things in life ... For example, if you forget to take your medication it will alert you, and it can help you plan your diet for the week, and it can help let you know when to start cooking and when to take it out, and they can play little games on it that keeps their brains working and keeps them functioning.”
For two-and-a-half months, the team spent four hours a week putting together its two robots and seniors solution project.
FIRST LEGO League Ontario celebrated its 10th anniversary at the provincial championships with a cake-cutting during the opening ceremony of the event, which was energy-filled, featuring speakers from the non-profit organization, as well as UOIT president Tim McTiernan and Oshawa Mayor John Henry.
“You kids are the best of the best in Ontario and you are all winners for making it here today,” FLL Ontario Director Dave Ellis told competitors.
Mayor Henry said he was honoured to attend the event.
“These are the people who are going to change and revolutionize Canada,” he added.
After the ceremony, kids took off running to start the competition, which was hosted by UOIT for the fourth consecutive year.
While trophies stood on display, waiting to be won, teams competed in practice matches before the final showdowns. Some made adjustments to their robots, while others wowed competitors, eliciting oohs and ahs from onlookers. Each team watched their robots intently and anxiously as they performed, hoping for the best.
“Sometimes robots have minds of their own, they’re kind of unpredictable when it comes to some things,” Chayanne said. “If it works, that’s great, if it doesn’t, that’s great too, because just being here is fantastic.”
For more information on FIRST LEGO League and its work to inspire future generations of scientists and engineers, visit www.firstlegoleague.org.
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