The LEGOnardo Da Vincis, a group of six young robot enthusiasts from the Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy, competed in a FIRST Lego League robotics tournament held at Cal Lutheran University last Sunday.
The local Santa Barbara team achieved the highest score out of 26 teams participating in the event to capture the first-place robot performance award. The team’s robot, named “Mona Lisa,” also earned the LEGOnardo Da Vincis a robot design award at the competition.
At FIRST Lego League tournaments, each team is given three opportunities at the robot game table to operate their robot autonomously in a 2½-minute round.
The objective is to score as many points possible by executing the team’s distinct solution to predefined “missions.” Each team participating has designed, built, and programmed a unique robot from a LEGO Mindstorms kit. The teams typically use myriad sensors that rely on motor rotation, physical contact, reflected light or ultrasound to monitor and control the actions of their robots.
The Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy brings together kids ages 9 to 14 each year to participate in the annual FIRST Lego League challenge. The program creates an opportunity for kids to learn engineering principles, computer programming, strategic planning, problem solving, and team building in a hands-on, fun environment.
The tournaments offer an opportunity for the teams to compete, but also to share ideas on how different approaches to the robot design and programming are used to solve the mission challenges. Although the robots are all assembled from a standard LEGO Mindstorms kit, the rules allow for any piece of LEGO to be used in the robot design.
As a result, out of all the teams competing at the Cal Lutheran Tournament, no two robots looked alike, and the strategy used by each team to accomplish the missions was unique.
The team’s performance at the Cal Lutheran tournament qualified them to advance to the Los Angeles Regional Championship to be held Dec. 14-15 in Torrance.
Click here for more information on the Santa Barbara HomeSchool Robotics Academy and the LEGOnardo DaVincis.
— Craig Christenson represents the Santa Barbara Homeschool Robotics Academy.