Robots show the way to future

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2007, 12:00am

Budding scientists put their knowledge of nanotechnology to the test with computer-controlled robots at the Hong Kong FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League Robotics Tournament held earlier this month.

Nanotechnology is the science of building electronic circuits and devices from single atoms and molecules.

The competition was divided into three parts - computational programming and design of the robots; research presentation on nanotechnology; and cheering team slogans.

More than 350 students from 46 primary and secondary schools took part in the contest, organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups (HKFYG).

In one task, some Lego blocks were presented as pizza molecules. The Lego robots had to remove the blocks from the plate and bring them to a Lego-man.

This suggested that smell - or more precisely the scent molecules - from the pizza can spread through the air and into the receiver's nose.

Another project saw robots transporting 'medicine' to a problem spot.

It proved that medicine can be placed inside certain molecules via nanotechnology and delivered to the exact location where it is needed. This prevents harmful side-effects in patients.

Kwun Tong Kung Lok Government Secondary School won the Best Robotic Performance Award.

'We spent more than a month designing our robot,' said Form Four student, Lam Tsz-nga.

'Our design and technology teacher bought the same platform [where the robot is placed on] as the one used in the competition. And we stayed after school trying out the best computer program for the robot.'

The school also won the first runner-up prize in the Most Creative Cheering Team Performance category.

'Although I'm the youngest in my team, I came up with many creative slogans,' said Form One student, Fredi Sze.

'I gained a lot from the competition and learned how to communicate with my teammates when problems came up.'

Although Carmel Secondary School did not win any of the three categories, they scored the highest number of points to clinch the championship.

'The theme of our presentation was 'Uses of Nanotechnology in Space technology',' said Form three student, Andrew Li.

'Our success was the result of hard work and we received valuable help from the organisation [HKFYG] and our school library.'

The Carmel team will represent Hong Kong at a tournament in Atlanta, the US, from April 10 to 14.

'We are excited about our results and are looking forward to the tournament,' Andrew said.