This robot does compute

[attach]5457[/attach]There must be something in the Lego at Bayview Glen.

The school’s Ctrl-Z Robotics Team was crowned first place Ontario East Champions of the First Lego League, which means for the second time in three years, they’re getting a chance to compete at the First Lego League World Festival.

Out of the 60 teams in the local competition, Ctrl-Z members thought they could land among the top five, says coach Eric Borromeo, whose son Justin Borromeo is on the team.

“The kids worked extremely hard making sure that they did perform well,” he says. “When they ended up winning … There was a huge level of excitement and thrill.”

In First Lego League, team members build a robot made entirely of Lego pieces that they program to complete a set of specific challenges.

This year’s theme was Food Factor and the tasks included having robots move pizza and ice cream to a home base, set a timer and thermometer to cook food properly, and wash bacteria down a sink.

Team member Justin Lai says other teams got the job done but their robots didn’t have the same capabilities as did Ctrl-Z’s.

“We used a lot of complex programming and attachments for our robot that a lot of other teams didn’t have,” he says. “Our robot was really big and other teams had really tiny robots.”

However, the team of grade 6-8 students admitted their performance wasn’t perfect — just like their name suggests.

“Ctrl-Z (means) undo because we knew we would make a lot of mistakes in life and in the competition,” says team member Megan Lai.

Despite any difficulties, one of the First Lego League core values is teamwork and Borromeo credits the students for their ability to cooperate.

“I’m really proud they’ve managed to do all this on their own,” he says. “They’ve manged to resolve any differences and work very harmoniously as a group.”

The Ctrl-Z members say they’re looking forward to the World Festival in St. Louis, Missouri in April where they’ll face 80 teams. Team members say they will be spending the next few months improving their robot, brick by brick, including ramping up its speed.

While the team’s excitement levels are running high, members know the competition in St. Louis will be fierce.

“We’ve got to remember that these are teams from around the world,” says team member Christopher Alexiev. “Not just little teams around in the community. They’re the biggest teams. They’re all really good.”