Food, robots and LEGOs might seem to have little in common, but they all came together for the FIRST® LEGO® League’s Food Factor Challenge held recently at the University of Delaware.
DuPont helped sponsor the event, which drew about 400 students between the ages of 9 and 14 who represented 42 teams.
This year’s program challenged students to research issues in food safety, develop an innovative solution and present their findings. As part of the challenge, students built autonomous robots with LEGO components and MINDSTORMS technology, which competed to score points in missions of food safety.
During 2.5-minute matches, each robot put common foods through a few of the steps between farm and fork, while avoiding or dealing with contamination. Mission challenges on each playing field related to harvest, storage, transport, and refrigeration, hand washing and allowing for good versus bad bacteria.
“FIRST LEGO League is designed to build self-confidence, knowledge, teamwork and life skills, while inspiring and motivating young people in the greater Delaware area to pursue opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Lou Rosanio, First State FIRST LEGO League director and DuPont Engineering Technology leader at Stine/Haskell, who has championed and coordinated the Delaware competition for 11 years. “Being a DuPont mechanical engineer and team leader, I refer to this goal as developing future replacements for me and my team in DuPont.”
This year’s winning team was Jireh from Coopersburg, Pa. Jireh had the highest robot performance score and ranked first in eight out of nine judging categories. Their food safety solution was a chemically activated cooling device that would be placed into a refrigerator when a power failure occurred. Their associated presentation was done in a Shakespearean manner with leading characters called Salmonello and Ecolliette.
DuPont’s sponsoring businesses included the Center for Collaborative Research & Education (CCRE); Corporate Marketing & Sales; Crop Protection − R&D; Engineering; Facilities Services & Real Estate (FS&RE); Pioneer Hi-Bred; and Qualicon.
Learn more about the FIRST LEGO League robotics program.
View more information about the Delaware competitions.