00:00 Saturday 18 April 2009  Written by Leo MCMahon

Bandon Grammar School in Lego robot competition

PUPILS from Bandon Grammar School reached the final of the recent Cork Electronic Industry Association's (CEIA) Lego Robot Competition for secondary schools.

Creative and innovative engineering solutions will be required to find solutions to the world's energy crisis and our future will depend on the students of today finding those solutions. The aim of the CEIA Lego Robot competition is to find and encourage those talented students who have an interest in engineering, science or technology fields and to increase the uptake of electrical and electronic engineering courses.

The role of robots to protect our environment and harness renewable energy resources was the theme of the CEIA Lego Robot Competition in which students learned how robots can help to do just that. For four months, second-year students from 16 schools were busy building and programming Lego robots to complete specified tasks, using a kit supplied by CEIA. The competition concluded on February 12 with the final at Maryborough Hotel, Douglas.

The talented team from Douglas Community School used some innovative thinking to come up with a solution to the challenge that was different to all the other robots and this creativity ultimately led them to victory in the competition. They had strong opposition in a tense final from Bandon Grammar School, who won the competition for the previous two years. The winning team received a Logitech® laptop for their school and each team member also received a Logitech® Squeezebox Boom. The team from Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig, showed a skill for circuit design and took the prize for most innovation electronic beacon, while new entrants Colaiste an Phiarsiagh, Glanmire, won the best project presentation prize with a very professional entry as Gaeilge.

The competition, now in its fifth year, is being undertaken in conjunction with University College Cork (UCC), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Tyndall National Institute and the support of CEIA member companies. A key aspect of the competition is that engineers, researchers and technologists from these institutes provide mentor support for the teams and this is a wonderful opportunity to give the students an insight into potential careers in the industry.

Minister Micheal Martin TD attended the final and met many of the students, teachers and organisers. He encouraged the students to continue to pursue their interest in technology-related subjects and praised them for their curiosity, creativity and technical ability.

Cork is home to many information and communication technology (ICT) companies who provide challenging careers for those people interested in driving technological change and this competition focuses on the students who will be the engineers of the future.

It's worth noting that Barack Obama, in his inaugural speech on January 20 as President of the United States of America, declared: 'We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its costs. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.'

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