Willesden Green family scoop award at European Lego robotics competition
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 May 2016 | UPDATED: 14:30 17 May 2016
A home-schooled family from Willesden Green who were the UK’s only finalists in a European Lego robotics competition have won an award.
Aaron and Elye Cuthbertson and their coach and mother Ilana King, from Walm Lane, won an Innovation Award for their environmental project at the First Lego League (FLL) Open European Championships in Tenerife.
The Rubbish Runners team, which includes fellow home-schooler Kyran Richards, competed against 87 teams from around the continent and were the only UK representatives.
They impressed the judges with their innovative project, which involved reducing cigarette litter outside train stations by creating a bin that incentivises people to dispose of cigarettes correctly rather than on the floor by entering them into a lottery for free travel.
Aaron, 14, said: “Getting to communicate our idea to people from around the world was an enormous privilege, and hearing all the feedback from judges and team members alike was an experience I will never forget.”
Elye, 11, added: “It was brilliant to be there with all the other teams, and we made lots of friends. It was a fantastic experience, it was a ton of fun, and we learned loads there. We were all incredibly happy and proud of what we had done by the end of it.”
Kyran, 14, said: “It was surprising, exciting and a huge honour! Being one of the teams at the FLL OEC 2016 to win an award was not something we were expecting, and the experience there was a great privilege.”
The team had only five minutes to present their project to the judges and then were questioned. They also had to man a “pit area” throughout the three days of competition and explain their project repeatedly to other teams, judges, coaches and visitors.
Mrs King said: “Representing the UK at the Open European Championships in Tenerife was an unforgettable experience for the team. To compete against 87 teams from around the world and win an award for Innovative Solution for their project idea was a monumental achievement and deserved recognition for the work they have put in over the last eight months. Their innovative solution to the problem of cigarette litter has received praise from many quarters and the team is now exploring ways to take it forwards into reality.”
The Rubbish Runners, came second at the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET) FLL UK and Ireland Final in February.
FLL, a global science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) challenge aimed at nine – 16-year-olds, tasks teams to solve real world problems with the help of a robot.