Setting the scene for the FIRST® LEGO® League UK Animal Allies Final

We helped transform the University of the West of England for the UK and Ireland Finals of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge: ANIMAL ALLIES, February 2017.

Hundreds of aspiring young engineers and roboticists took part in an exciting science and technology challenge at the University of the West of England in Bristol. The finals of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge: ANIMAL ALLIES were held in the university’s Exhibition and Conference Centre on Sunday 26th February.

We teamed up with Utopium to supply sound and lighting to the event, which was part of a global Lego-based robotics contest, and featured tens of thousands of young people. For the sound installation, working with the in house PA system we supported that by installing two Yamaha QL1’s with 12 channels of Shure ULXD radios on a Dante network. We connected the main competition space with the studio to allow the Institute of Engineering and Technology to stream the event live on YouTube.

Helping add to the interactive nature of the challenge, we also supplied three of our 10,000 lumen Panasonic projectors along with cable runs, which displayed different images at different times during the challenge, to match the activities taking place in each area. We also teamed up with Utopium, who supplied lighting and rigging to the event. The Utopium team worked on the practice area, stage and studio space, supplying three truss ground supports. Each of the structures were constructed from Thomas 305mm truss and supported the lighting and cameras above the competition tables, each table was illuminated using an SGM Q-7 RGBW LED Flood fixture. The stage was lit for presentation and commentry using the in-house conventional rig, and the studio interview area was lit with Arri L5-C LED fresnel fixtures.

The robots used light sensors which were calibrated on the practise tables and Utopium were tasked with ensuring the colour balance and light levels were identical across the practice and competition tables. The team utilised their SGM Q-7 RGBW LED Flood fixtures, which were perfect for the application.

Mat O’Brien, our sound engineer, commented: “It was great to be involved with the finals of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge, and help create an environment where aspiring young engineers could test their roboticists skills. Through our AV and lighting, we were able to create an engaging environment which reflected the interactive nature of the competition.”

An alliance between FIRST (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science and Technology), Lego and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the contest challenged young people to develop skills in design and technology, programming and control, mathematics and strategic thinking. The challenge invited teams to solve a real-world problem with the help of a robot made from Lego.

Judges from the University of the West of England’s Computer Science and Creative Technologies Centre and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, watched as the teams identified an issue with the way humans and animals interact and created their own solutions.