2043 First LEGO League Robot Challenge



Scientific discovery and technical innovation have a life cycle that start from near-magical breakthroughs and progresses to mundane unthinking assumptions about how our world works.  Like a fish unable to recognize the water it swims in, we forgot how amazing STEM has remade our lives.  In contrast, the world of today would be an unimaginable scientific fantasy for my eldest grandfather who was born around 1870.

Everything have been revolutionized from the basic ways we grow food, provide medical care, and travel to the complex and sophisticated ways we network to collaborate, research, create and distribute ever-new products, services and knowledge.


Technologies central to our lives today were still years from being invented at the time of my grandfather’s birth.  In many cases these technologies only became available to the masses decades after being invented (eg approximately 50 years for television broadcast).

1876 – Telephone Patent (Bell)

1879 – First Practical Ligh Bulb (Edison)

1886 – First Gasoline-powered Car (Benz)

1886 – Demonstrated Proof of Radio Waves (Hertz)

1900 – Wireless Radio Broadcast of Human Voice (Landell de Moura)

1901 – First Motorized Aircraft Flight (Weisskopf)

1907 – Bakelite First Plastic (Baekeland)

1909 – First Televised Broadcast (Rignoux and A. Fournier)

1928 – Penicillin (Fleming)

1938 – Z1 First Programmable Computer (Zuse)

1938 – First Nuclear Fission (Hahn)

1942 – V2 Long-range Ballistic Missile (NAZI Military)

1945 – Atomic Bomb (US Military)

1947 – Transistor (Bardeen and Brattain)

1957 – First Personal Computer (IBM)

1958 – First Integrated Circuit (Kilby and Noyce)

1960 – First LASER (Maiman)

1969 – ARAPNET Distributed Computer Network and UNIX invented

1971 – email (Tomlinson)

1984 – Cell Phone (Motorola)

1990 – Internet (Berners-Lee)

1993 – Mosaic Web Browser




Why the year 2043?  Because that is year I expect my oldest son to have his own son his age in First LEGO League based upon life expectancy and the demographics of family formation.  Another useful back of the napkin estimation using social science and statistics like we saw in our Trash Trek Research Project this past year.

Based upon the accelerating pace of scientific discovery and technological innovation, what kind of First LEGO League (or more likely FTC/FRC) could my grandchildren expect to see?  How about this:



How many FLL 2043 Robot Challenge Missions can you identify in this video?  For example, picking up two stacked package and putting them on two opposite shelves.




LEGO Innovation at Play

LEGO is running a small promotion on their Architecture Studio Set so we picked one up.


Unlike most LEGO kits, this set does not come with complete step-by-step instructions but rather general component/design guidelines based upon real architectural theories.  The idea is to create a set that allows for a more creative and exploratory build experience.  In addition, the bricks and models are small scale and largely monochrome white for cost-control and to put the focus on essentials of physical geometric design.

Here is a good marketing blub that explains how the distinct yet complimentary educational goals of the LEGO Architecture Series fit with both the Mindstorms robot sets and Technic set series we are more familiar with from our previous years work in First LEGO League.


As in the LEGO Movie, there really are Master Builders.  We went to a class at the LEGOLAND Hotel taught by a Master Builder who designs and builds models for LEGOLAND Park Florida.  Here is another Master Builder explaining how the beautiful LEGO Architecture model of the Sydney Opera House.


TrashTrek FLL Poster and Presentation

Last week Mateo gave a presentation on our FLL TrashTrek Project, ecoSmart.xyz, to his classmates.


Showing off our FLL robots from previous seasons


Getting ready to explain mission models and attachments



Everyone taking our ecoSmart.xyz quiz

(the highest score was 4 out of 10)

The FLL Posters are pretty self-explanatory.  Kudos to Beckett for the layout and artwork.


Center Panel


Left Panel


fll-trashtrek-teamCore Value Poster