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Center for Educational Technologies projects have ended (except Challenger Learning Center) and are no longer funded.

Doctor's Orders: State Robotics Competition Returns

Wed Dec 8 2010

Robotics meets medicine Saturday at Wheeling Jesuit University.

Competitors in this year's West Virginia FIRST LEGO® League robotics tournament at WJU will focus on biomedical engineering solutions to medical problems. The competitors, ages 9-14, will program their LEGO robots to perform medical repairs, and the students will also research medical concerns in their communities and propose biomechanical solutions.

This is the sixth year Wheeling Jesuit University is hosting the state tournament, which is funded by the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium. This year 35 teams have entered the competition, the most ever. More than 250 youth will compete for an invitation to April's FIRST LEGO League World Festival in St. Louis. The tournament runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to the public.

Body Forward—Engineering Meets Medicine is the theme of this year's competition. Student teams will have programmed their LEGO robots to serve as sensor-equipped vehicles to perform various medical-related tasks, among them applying casts and splints to repair broken bones and delivering pacemakers, heart patches, and artificial eyes while steering clear of obstacles. The robots will also dispense medicine and test the nerves of the competitors who apply their programming and robot construction skills.

A research presentation is another part of the tournament. Students will examine their community and report on current medical issues there. They then will present to a panel of judges potential solutions to specific medical problems.

"Perhaps a team will develop a prototype for a patentable prosthetic device or some other innovative solution to a medical problem," said Dr. Meri Cummings, director of the tournament and science resource teacher and lab manager at the Center for Educational Technologies. "Judges will also observe and interview the students to determine how well they demonstrate the teamwork skills required for successful research and engineering projects."

Opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the Troy Theater. Audiences can see research presentations until 12:45 in the Center for Educational Technologies building. Team "pits" and a practice area are in the Swint Hall cafeteria. The table competition itself takes place on the Troy Theater stage. Younger visitors can build in the LEGO Construction Zone while the competition takes place.

In addition to the primary funding from the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium and Wheeling Jesuit University, other contributors are the West Virginia University Extension Service/4-H Youth Development, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council/Motorola, American Electric Power, and LEGO Education.

Here are the teams set to compete this year along with the number of members and hometown:
  1. West Side Robotics, 10, Fairmont
  2. Preston Robotics Is Definitely Epic, 5, Arthurdale
  3. RoboSEALS, 10 , Morgantown
  4. Phoenix Tech Birds, 10, Princeton
  5. Culloden LEGO Cats, 6, Culloden
  6. Brooke County 4-H, 4, Wellsburg
  7. Chapmanville Middle School, 10, Chapmanville
  8. Logan Middle School, 7, Logan
  9. Girl Scout Polka Bots, 7, Moundsville
  10. Nordic Cupcakes, 8, Sistersville
  11. Harrison County 4-H Robo Cops, 10, Clarksburg
  12. Virtual Vikings, 6, Morgantown
  13. RoboSapiens, 5, Huntington
  14. Cardiac Arrest, 9, West Union
  15. The Beastie Bots, 10, West Union
  16. Techno Ninjas, 8, West Union
  17. Block Doctors, 10, Morgantown
  18. Wood County 4-H Robotics Team, 6, Belleville
  19. Mars Rovers, 5, Morgantown
  20. Beverly Hills Biomedical Engineers, 3, Huntington
  21. Roboteers, 6, Morgantown
  22. BERT, 9, Bridgeport
  23. The Gadget Guys, 5, Morgantown
  24. E=MC2, 10, Union
  25. PyroBots, 6, Martinsburg
  26. Huntington Mission Challengers, 4, Huntington
  27. Legobots, 4, Wheeling
  28. SJGS LEGOS, 3, Huntington
  29. Smarticle Robo Builders, 6, Morgantown
  30. Geek Central, 8, Morgantown
  31. 4-H "BOT"aneers, 8, Buckhannon
  32. J-Ro, 4, Parkersburg
  33. Laughing Out Legos, 9, Morgantown
  34. Imperial Oranges, 6, Morgantown
  35. RoboLions, 4, Delbarton

For more information contact Meri Cummings.