May 5, 2007

FIRST LEGO League registration is open now


Registration for this fall's FIRST LEGO League (FLL) season has begun. The 2007 Challenge is Power Puzzle - "Energy Resources - Meeting the Global Demand". You can get more details at http://www.firstlegoleague.org and you can register a team at http://register4fll.com/.

If you have any questions about FLL, post them here as a comment and we will do our best to answer or point you to the people who can.

12 comments:

Jim Kelly said...

If someone knows the dates for next year's FLL International in Atlanta, GA, please let us know. Thanks!

Jim

Larry Langellier said...

It will be April 17-19, 2008 - according to http://www.hands-on-technology.de/en/firstlegoleague/fll_wf.

Andy said...

Is FLL international world championship always in Atlanta, GA?
I want to go there cause me and my dad is planning on starting a team and it is okay for my mom that we go there if it is in Atlanta, GA next year too. FLL looks so fun!

Andy

Jim Kelly said...

I'm pretty certain it will be held in Atlanta for at least another 2 years... possibly 3 (people I've asked seem to differ on 2 or 3).

Larry, thanks for posting the dates - this looks like a completely new website for FLL (orange color) and the other "official" FLL site only said "April" for the championship...

Jim

Larry Langellier said...

I don't know for sure, but it looks like that might be the official German site for FLL.

Robolab 2.9 said...

I think I heard that LEGO bought reservations in the Georgia Dome for 2? 3? years, and they might try to move it to France after that. Just a snippet of info.

Robolab 2.9

Andy said...

Cool, thanks for the info guys!

Andy

peter hoh said...

Does anyone know if LEGO will come out with new products related to this theme? That is, a solar panel or a capacitor that's designed to fit with the NXT power cables, for instance?

Brian Davis said...

There's already a solar cell (a bit low power) and capacitor that LEGO makes, and I hope they show up in the challenge - the capacitor in particular is a really wonderful device for teaching. In fact, I can think of ways to have the robot mechanically charge the capacitor (with an RCX-era gear motor and a "treadmill", for instance), and then the charge can be used by a mechanism on the other side of the playfield. After all, day/night or regional electrical load sharing is an important concept, as is energy storage (which could be done in a whole bunch of ways - capacitors yes, but also gravitational potential energy, flywheels, etc.).

Lots of potential - I'll be curious to see what they come up with.

--
Brian Davis

Dean Hystad said...

Brian,

Prices for mats and field kits didn't change, so I doubt there will be any high value parts. I hope they have a nice tie in between the missions and the research presentation links like they did for nano. The ties between the table, the video games, and the stories about the nano-tech researchers resonated with my kids.

As for merging LEGO and this season's FLL theme my daughter's team built electrical generators using LEGO, bar magnets from Radio Shack (LEGO magnets are wimpy) and motor wire from McMaster Carr. They even built a winder out of LEGO to make the wire winding go faster and be more uniform. The design is not optimal, but at a nice steady crank speed of 1 rpm and a 1:15 gear ratio we are getting 2.5-3 volts.

More importantly it does a great job demonstrating how energy can be changed from one form to another. At our field trip to the power plant they didn't make the connection from how burning something makes electricity. Burning->steam->spinning was easy, but spinning to electricity escaped them. No longer.

As for solar panels, the LEGO ones were rediculously overpriced. I got a bunch from Pitsco (I'm sure they were overpriced too). Making an adapter cable is pretty easy. Next task is to make a solar powered battery charger and see if we can do the whole FLL season using renewable energy.

Jim Kelly said...

Dean,

Do you have any pictures or videos of your daughter's creations? If so, please write up a small description and email to me some details and I'd love to post about it on the blog. Sounds like you've got some future engineers on your hands :)

Jim

Brian Davis said...

Dean, the LEGO motor sounds like a wonderful technology project - I agree with Jim, I'd love to see a web page or write-up. As to solar-powered LEGO, have you ever seen the creations of Justin Fisher?

http://news.lugnet.com/robotics/?n=25528&t=i&v=a

Really amazing stuff - not just the high-efficency cells, but the auto-power-on ability in the RCX, and the stepping up to run a Geiger counter off the system as well. I was really really REALLY hoping for a lowe-power mode in the NXT to duplicate some of this sort of thing... but maybe Justin (or someone like him) will make some progress there as well.

--
Brian Davis

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