EVENT: More than 300 Pittsburgh-area middle-schoolers from some 20 local educational institutions will compete in the annual FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League robotics competition, Saturday, Dec. 1, at Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Consortium (NREC) in Lawrenceville. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS TM kits, the students have built autonomous robots designed to help researchers studying climate change above the Arctic Circle who are in danger of being trapped in a huge storm. The robots may perform as many as nine separate missions to save the researchers, their equipment and the data they've collected. In addition to competing, the students also must make presentations describing their robot's mechanical design, the combination of programming logic and sensors they used to make them autonomous and the environmental impact of global warming. In the past year, Carnegie Mellon's two-year-old Robotics Academy at the NREC has been instrumental in developing robotics clubs at a host of schools and social service organizations in Pittsburgh. Fifteen students from Schenley High School's Technological Studies Magnet will be mentoring teams from Oakland, the Hill District and the North Side. Parent volunteers will be participating as well. The event is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon and AT&T, which is providing financial support.
WHERE: Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Consortium Building, 40th Street and the Allegheny River, Lawrenceville. Make a right just before the 40th Street Bridge onto Foster Street, then make an immediate left and head toward the river. Cross the railroad tracks. The REC will be on your right.
WHEN: 9a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1.
For more information on the competition, see http://www.firstlegoleague.org/ More information about the Robotics Academy can be found at http://www.rec.ri.cmu.edu/education. For a list of organizations participating in the competition, contact Anne Watzman.