08 setembro 2007

Solving the World's Energy Problems - With LEGO

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire, September 7, 2007 (ENS) - More than 100,000 middle-school students in 38 countries are poised to create solutions for the energy needs of a growing world population - with robots and LEGO, the snap-together plastic building blocks.

An organization called For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, FIRST, Thursday launched its 10th anniversary FIRST LEGO® League season with the unveiling of the 2007 Power Puzzle Challenge.

The Challenge calls for teams of middle-school students, ages 9 to 14, to use robotics to understand and create solutions for one of the world's most critical environmental issues - energy management and conservation.

To create a theme and Challenge missions that parallel real issues, FIRST collaborated with the Gulf Coast Combined Heat and Power Application Center, the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of South Carolina, and the Second Hill Group, an independent consultant on energy, environment and green design.

To accomplish missions involving solar panels on houses, hydro-dams, wind turbines and tree planting, teams will program their robots to find sustainable options to meet the world’s growing energy needs in environmentally sound ways.

"The environment is a huge concern for everyone, including kids," said Dean Kamen, who founded FIRST. "Giving them a hands-on experience that allows them to use their imaginations and creativity in combination with science and technology to solve a real-world problem is empowering. It captures the true spirit of FIRST LEGO League and unleashes the creative problem solving skills today’s kids need for building a better tomorrow."

FIRST also kicked off the 2007 Junior FIRST LEGO League Power Puzzle season Thursday for six to nine year-olds.

After eight weeks of preliminary matches, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments.

Teams will compete to participate at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 17-19, 2008 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.

"FIRST LEGO League so brilliantly captures the natural curiosity and creativity of youth, and combines it with real-world issues and research and teamwork activities that put children in a position of identifying and creating innovative solutions to big problems," said Jens Maibom, vice president, LEGO Group.

Founded in 1932, the LEGO Group is a privately held, family owned company, based in Billund, Denmark. The name LEGO is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt," meaning "play well."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2007. All rights reserved.

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