Never too old for LEGO: Healthy Ageing Campus hosts FIRST LEGO League Benelux Final
On Saturday the second of February, for one day the city of Groningen was taken over by robots from The Netherlands and Belgium. 45 teams of children between 9 and 15 years made their entry in Martiniplaza with their own robots which they all build out of a bunch of LEGO-stones. They were ready for the FIRST LEGO League Benelux Finals 2012/2013, hosted by the Healthy Ageing Campus Netherlands.
The challenge of this year’s edition of the FIRST LEGO League was ‘Senior Solutions’.Could the teams find ways to improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities? The children thought about technical solutions for elderly people and build them by the use of LEGO-stones.
The Healthy Ageing Campus Netherlands is an inspiring ecosystem of facilities, companies, research and talent on and around the premises of the University Medical Center Groningen. The Campus combines healthcare, research and entrepreneurship with a focus on Food & Health, Medical Technology, Pharma and eHealth. This leads to spin-off companies, shared facilities and new knowledge regarding the ageing process. The ‘Senior Solutions’-challenge matches very well with the focus on Healthy Ageing.
Innovations like a special shower, an extraordinary toothbrush, an alarming medicine-cabinet and even special knitting needles for patients who suffer from Parkinson are just a few examples of the unique findings the participants made. The idea behind this event is to make young people aware of the problems their grandparents struggle with and to provide the children a stepping stone so that they, in the future, can help building a higher qualitative live for elderly people. Hopefully then without the use of the coloured LEGO-stones.
But there were not only awards for the best ‘Senior Solutions’. The teams also battled against each other, programming their LEGO-robots to perform special tasks on their own. Picking up miniature chairs, pull a switch, and other kinds of challenges that can be found in the homes of elderly people. The team with the most successful attempts won.
The atmosphere was great, thanks to the enthusiasm of the participating children and their supporters. After the award ceremony, at the end of the successful day, the participants went home, tired but happy. The robots where the only ones not showing any form of fatigue.