Robot programming competition held at Acadia

Wendy Elliott
Published on February 19, 2014

Problem solving and teamwork equals fun at the Robot Programming Competition, according to Eamonn Schwartz, a member of the Flying Manatees.

His twin brother, Macky, said he was keen to explore engineering, while the third member of the team, Jonah McKay, likes robots that can be designed to perform missions.

The three-man team from the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, who are all home schooled, along with coach Ian McKay, won awards for performance and innovation on Feb 15.

Over 300 students, their coaches and mentors in two divisions of youth teams from across the province came to Acadia University.

Noah Lohnes and Becky Ansems, who comprised the Northeast Kings Titans, worked to create a robot that would move tennis balls efficiently and safely.

“I think the reason I enjoy this is that there’s really interesting technology, really interesting problems that combine practical uses and technical access to real world problems,” said Lohnes.

Ansems added that she likes the energy in the atmosphere of the competition and the problem solving aspect.

The Flying Manatees were among 30 junior high school teams, which completed the First Lego League (FLL). They had to program autonomous Lego Mindstorms robots to avoid danger areas and penalties in an exciting series of tabletop challenges.

The teams also worked on a project and related presentation based on the FLL theme, all within a spirit of teamwork. This year’s theme, Nature’s Fury, focused on discovering what can be done when intense natural events such as storms, quakes and waves meet the places people live, work and play.

In addition, the Titans and 14 other high school teams competed in a regional qualifier for the international Robofest competition.

Robofest is composed of a variety of competitions that use autonomous robots (no remote control) and encourages students to have fun while learning principles of computer science and other areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The Robot Programming Competition aims to increase interest in building digital technology and computer science by engaging Nova Scotia students in annual robotics programming competitions and related activities. 

There were four FLL teams from Kings County and three senior teams from Northeast Kings and Horton who took part.

The Acadia Robot Programming Competitions began in 2005 with eight high school teams from the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board.

See a slideshow of pictures from the competition HERE.


Local winners in the First Lego League:

Robot Performance Award – Flying Manatees

Programming Award – Robo Lobo Wired, Wolfville

Project Innovative Solution Award – Flying Manatees

Judges Award – Salami Slices from Dwight Ross and Middleton Schools

Outstanding Coach – Robert Pitter, Wolfville