Old LEGOs were never this cool...

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Old LEGOs were never this cool...

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A new LEGO tournament goes far beyond just assembling plastic bricks, and involves serious research that scientists and oceanographers might someday use in their careers.
But the research will still be conducted by children aged 9 to 16.
More than 550 elementary and middle school students nationwide have signed up to compete in the FIRST LEGO League tournament, which is a competition among youth to design, build and program robots with a LEGO robotic kit.
This year’s event will be held Feb. 4 at the Jangchung Gymnasium, central Seoul, with the theme “Ocean Odyssey.” The public is welcome to come and watch.
The participants will deploy robotic “submarines” to conduct a number of underwater missions. Teams of participants will build and command robots to clear structural debris from an artificial reef and clean up a cargo shipping accident, among other things. Their final mission is to direct a robot to recover archaeological artifacts from an “ancient shipwreck.”
Tough work.
“Every year the event is attracting more and more interest among Korean youth,” said Hwang Hui-seob, marketing manager at the International Creative Intelligence Robot Association, the domestic organizer of the event.
Winners from the Korean competition will compete in the world tournament in the United States in April. Last year, the Korean team placed third, which was pretty good for a late starter, noted Mr. Hwang. It was only the third year Korea had participated in the annual competition, which began in 1998.
The tournament is sponsored by LEGO from Denmark and FIRST, a non-profit organization from the United States that was founded by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.
The event also includes several rounds of intense robot-to robot competition. It lasts from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., when winning teams will receive awards for the best design team, the best performance, the best teamwork, best instructors and team spirit.


by Lee Min-a

The Jangchung Gymnasium is located near the Dongguk University subway station on line no.3 . For more information, call: (02) 2236-4197 or visit: www.firstlegoleague.org

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