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Long Island Children Apply Research and Robotics to Explore How Engineering Meets Medicine with FIRST ® LEGO® League “Body Forward™” Challenge

03-01-2011 06:00 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.

/ PR Agency: PRMG
[Kings Park, NY] — On Sunday, March 6, eight weeks of research and design will culminate in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO League (FLL) Long Island Championship Tournament, where 48 teams of children and coaches will demonstrate their problem-solving skills, creative thinking, teamwork, competitive play, sportsmanship, and sense of community. The tournament will take place at Longwood High School, located at 100 Longwood Road in Middle Island. The tournament is being sponsored by School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI) and the Longwood Central School District.

Five hundred middle-school children from 48 teams from Long Island will compete in this event. On February 5-6, a qualifying tournament was held at Berner High School in Massapequa in which 104 teams competed for an opportunity to advance to the championship tournament.

FIRST®, an organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology, brings its biggest-ever annual FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) season to Long Island with the 2010 “Body Forward™” Challenge.

This year’s Challenge calls for teams of 9- to 14-year-old children to research and present their own creative solutions to one of today’s most relevant topics: how engineering mixes with traditional biological and medical sciences to advance healthcare.

With missions including bone repair, rapid blood screening, bionic eyes, nerve mapping, object control through thought, teams will have to program their LEGO MINDSTORMS® robots to explore the growing questions around how to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body’s potential, with the intended purpose of leading happier and healthier lives.

“Body Forward” was developed with the input of Biomedical Engineering experts to provide a practical and realistic challenge project and robot missions. This year’s Challenge Advisory Team included:

• Scott Cummings, Prosthetist and Orthotist, Next Step Prosthetics and Orthotics;
• Dr. Lisa Freed, Senior Technical Member, Draper Laboratory – Biomedical Engineering Group
• Dr. Marie Johnson, Director, University of Minnesota – Center for Medical Devices; and
• Dr. Tom Skalak, Chairman and Professor, University of Virginia – Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The FLL competition is judged in four areas: project presentation; robot performance; technical design and programming of the robot; and teamwork, with a consideration of the FLL Core Values. The highest honor will go to the team that best exemplifies the spirit and values of the program.

“Every FIRST LEGO League Challenge of the last eleven years has helped children discover how imagination and creativity combined with science and technology can solve real-world problems,” said Dean Kamen, FIRST founder. “With medical issues impacting each and every one of us in our lifetime, we will need a new generation of innovators to build on the miracles of modern medicine and ensure future advances in healthcare, for us and for themselves. This year’s focus on Biomedical Engineering introduces these young scientists to an exciting field that is virtually exploding with possibilities.”

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9- to 14-year-old children (9 to 16 outside the U.S. and Canada) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology – and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO Education materials, children work alongside adult mentors to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.

“FIRST LEGO League provides a fun and engaging experience for children around the world to become innovators and creative problem solvers on a very relevant and real topic,” said Jacob Kragh, vice president, LEGO Group. “Using a real-world issue to drive a process where children are in control empowers them with a chance to take what they learn and apply it to their own lives, not only during this challenge, but also to their future adventures and endeavors.”

Currently in its twelfth year, FIRST LEGO League anticipates its biggest season ever, with more than 17,000 teams in more than 50 countries competing in hundreds of Qualifying Tournaments and Championship Tournaments. More than 170,000 children will compete to win honors and recognition. Teams will also have the opportunity to participate at the FIRST LEGO League World Festival, to be held in conjunction with the FIRST Championship, April 27-30, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. In addition, more than 10,000 6 to 9 year-olds are expected to participate in Junior FIRST LEGO League this season.

“The FIRST LEGO League and the Junior FIRST LEGO League gives these young children a chance to garner an interest in science and engineering at an early age,” said Janet Anderson, Acting President, SBPLI. “Judging by the FLL qualifying tournaments that we had on February 5-6 in which 104 teams participated, the children on Long Island have a genuine interest in science, technology and engineering.”

For a list of the area schools and youth organizations with teams participating in the “Body Forward” Challenge, see the attached page. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be rescheduled for Sunday, March 13. For more information, visit www.sbpli-lifirst.org.

PARTICIPATING TEAMS
Bruins, Baldwin
Robophantoms, Bayport-Blue Point
Dominators, Bayville
Robotic Frogs, Carle Place
Red Devils, Center Moriches
AHAPers, Dix Hills
Knights, East Islip
Infinite Robotics, East Norwich
Bellport Panthers, East Patchogue
Sewanhaka Cobras, Floral Park
Think It, Link It, Glen Head
Bulldogs, Hewlett
LEGO Chicks, Hicksville
LEGOtronettes, Hicksville
Genesis, Holbrook
Sequoya, Holtsville
Let Me Think, Huntington Station
LIHS, Huntington Station
Nerd Alert, Oceanside
Salk Robohawks, Levittown
Anti-Bodies, Locust Valley
Contagious-LVMS 1, Locust Valley
Falcons 1, Locust Valley
Falcons 3, Locust Valley
Falcons 4, Locust Valley
Falcons 5, Locust Valley
Falcons 6, Locust Valley
Robo Tanks LVI1, Locust Valley
Roboteers, Locust Valley
Fill in the Blank, Manhasset
AG Berner TraumA, Massapequa
Catastrophic Moves, Merrick
Merrick Masters, Girl Scouts of Merrick
Longwood Tigers, Middle Island
Terminators, Middle Island
Robo Panthers, Miller Place
Rockin Robots, Oceanside
EW Robodocs, Oyster Bay
Seal, Port Jefferson
Chiron, Riverhead
Poprocks, Rockaway
Viking BYTES, Smithtown
Beta-Pobots
Brain Storms, Plainview
Congobots, Port Washington
Peaced Together, Sayville
Ivy League Atomic Bots, Smithtown
Stonybots, Stony Brook

About School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc.
The Long Island FIRST Regional Competition is run by the School-Business Partnerships of Long Island, Inc. (SBPLI). SBPLI was founded in 1984 by Fred Breithut with the goal of developing partnerships between local high schools and businesses that would provide students with practical experience and curriculum development, while helping the business community develop its future workforce. Over 100 partnerships have been formed since its inception. In 1999, Long Island FIRST was formed for the purpose of developing a Long Island Regional FIRST Competition. In 1999, eight high school teams participated. The Long Island Regional has since grown with 50 teams participating in 2011. On January 8, 2011, registered teams were provided with supplies and the competition's game rules. The 2011 Competition will be held at Hofstra University on March 25-26, 2011.

Hank Russell, Public Relations Director
PRMG
156 North Ocean Avenue
Patchogue, NY 11772
631-207-1057
hrussell@theprmg.com

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