Edmonton

Alberta students engineer solutions for city problems with Lego robots

Hundreds of students woke up early to show off their programming skills and robotic creations on Saturday at Edmonton’s NAIT main campus.

43 teams participated in the First Lego League robotics competition at NAIT

Hundreds of students took part in the First Lego League robotics competition at NAIT. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Hundreds of students woke up early to show off their programming skills and robotic creations on Saturday morning at Edmonton's Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) ​​main campus. 

Forty-three teams of students 14 and younger from central and northern Alberta took part in the First Lego League robotics competition — an annual contest that aims to spark their interest in science and technology. 

This year's theme is city shaping — participants were asked to identify an urban problem and build an autonomous robot to solve as many missions as possible that would help with the problem. 

"It's always really interesting to see what kind of creative solutions they come up with," said Vin Stocking, director for this year's tournament in Edmonton. 

"We just need more people in science and technology, we need people to think about how to solve those problems." 

Tanraj Shergill and Nicolo Constantino are students competing from Svend Hansen School. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Tanraj Shergill and Nicolo Constantino, students in Grade 7 and 9 respectively, are from Svend Hansen School. 

They decided to participate in the competition because it gave them an opportunity to spend time with friends after school. 

"I really like robots and programming is really fun," Shergill said. 

Both are competing with their "EV3" robot and for Shergill, this is his first competition.

"When I grow up, I might be an engineer and do this stuff," he said. "And if I win, that'd mean a lot." 

Shergill and Constantino said their robot is powered by an iPad or iPhone and they'd like to use it to put inspection drones on top of buildings. 

"It's to check the buildings just in case they were to break apart," Constantino said. "We'd really love to win." 

The winner of the competition has a chance to compete with other international student teams in Houston.

Tanraj Shergill and Nicolo Constantino show off their creation. It's a robot that helps drones inspect buildings. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

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