Final clash of the robots

Final clash of the robots

Local team to show their problem-solving skills at a global tournament

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Team V Ten (from left) Ivan Yiu, Nicky Fan, Loraine Kwok, Trevor Leung, Larrissa Chan, Michael Cheung, Elizabeth Sun, Candice Pong and Harry Tsang.
Team V Ten (from left) Ivan Yiu, Nicky Fan, Loraine Kwok, Trevor Leung, Larrissa Chan, Michael Cheung, Elizabeth Sun, Candice Pong and Harry Tsang.
Photo: Edmond So/SCMP
If you think that Lego is just child's play, think again.

Team V Ten's nine members - Candice Pong Ching-lam, Elizabeth Sun Nam-yan, Harry Tsang Hoi-ming, Ivan Yiu Wing-fung, Larissa Chan, Loraine Kwok Nok-tsin, Nicky Fan Ka-lam, Michael Cheung Ka-po and Trevor Leung Wing-tai, from Carmel Secondary School - used their creative talents and scientific knowledge to win the 2012-13 Hong Kong First Lego League Robotics Tournament.

Having defeated hundreds of teams here, they will represent Hong Kong at the First Lego League World Festival in St Louis, in the United States, next month. "First" stands for For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

The World Festival is a competition for students aged nine to 14. It contains four problem-solving stages, each requiring students to think in a scientific and logical way. The students need to use their creativity to build a robot that can complete certain routine tasks within a time frame.

The team says the V in their name symbolises "versatile, vibrant and victorious". The Ten refers to the nine members and one senior partner, and to the fact that it's also the 10th anniversary of the school's robotics team.

The group has spent the past five months preparing for the tournament. They were inspired by the Chinese story called "The Fight Between the Snipe and the Clam".

"We chose this story because we wanted to remind ourselves that we shouldn't fight with each other, or else we'll lose to the other teams," says Candice, 14.

For the Hong Kong tournament, she and the other girls had to make a presentation on the topic of "Seniors' Solution".

"We decided to work on a solution to help the elderly who forget to take their medication or take the wrong amount," says teammate Nicky, also 14.

The team invited a senior citizen (the mother of a teacher at the school) to take part in the discussion. Eventually they came up with the idea of a "smart" tablet dispenser.

The boys, meanwhile, were designing a clever robot to perform the required routine tasks. "Accuracy is very important," says Ivan, 14. "To save time, each movement has to be programmed perfectly, which is a challenge."

Harry, 15, adds: "We also have to come up with the best strategies to score the most points."

Their science teacher and tutor, Koo Yiu, is very impressed with the students' work. "I really appreciate their dedication and boldness," he says. "This competition is not easy, and they've encountered countless obstacles. [But] they tackle them smoothly and independently."

The students have gained a lot by working together, and grown in the process.

Larissa, 14, says: "I wasn't confident before. But [for the competition], we had to meet and talk to a lot of people and give presentations. It has made me more sure of myself. Our goal is to be in the top three in the world and make new friends from other countries."

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