Third Robot Jamboree to be held Saturday

Posted: Sunday, November 15, 2009

JUNEAU - On Saturday, 11 student teams from Juneau as well as teams from Sitka, Hoonah and Skagway will compete in the third annual For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Lego League Juneau Robot Jamboree.

The Juneau Robot Jamboree will be held from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at Centennial Hall. The awards ceremony will begin at 4 p.m., and the tournament will be open to the public and spectators are highly encouraged to attend. Best time for public viewing will be from 1 to 3 p.m.

FIRST Lego League was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. This year nearly 150,000 children ages 9 to 14 in more than 50 countries will explore solutions to issues in modern transportation through hands-on, minds-on teamwork revolving around the 2009 FIRST Lego League Challenge theme - Smart Move.

Smart Move is a two-part challenge consisting of a project and a robot game. In the project phase, teams identify a problem with the way people, animals, information or things travel in their community, create an innovative solution and share it outside the team. In the robot game, teams confront some of today's transportation safety and efficiency problems and apply robotics, sensor technology and fresh thinking to solve them. Challenge missions include efficiency planning, object avoidance, climbing steep bridges with no guardrails, passenger transport and crash tests.

The Juneau Robot Jamboree is one of two local Alaska qualifying tournaments this year, the other being Bethel's Southwest Regional FIRST LEGO League Tournament in early December. It is hoped that an unofficial tournament in Kenai in December will become official as a third qualifying tournament next year. The local qualifying tournaments will be followed by championship tournaments in Fairbanks on Dec. 5 and in Anchorage on Jan. 16.

The event is sponsored by Juneau Economic Development Council, the U.S. Department of Defense (through JEDC's SpringBoard/STEM program), and BP of Alaska.

For a complete schedule and team listing, visit SpringBoard is actively seeking volunteers and sponsors for the Juneau Robot Jamboree and the Anchorage Robot Rendezvous on Saturday, Jan. 16. Contact Becca Parks at or 523-2334 for more information. For more information about JEDC or the SpringBoard program, contact Larry West at 523-2328 or

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