First™ LEGO League Competition
Biomedical Engineering is everywhere, and as if to strengthen this point the 2010 First™ LEGO League competition chose Biomedical Engineering (engineering meets medicine) as its theme.

In the competition, schools from around the world compete in regional championships and an international final to address topics fundamental to the theme. This provided an ideal opportunity for the Nanotechnology and Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) and the School of Engineering at Ulster to promote innovative bioengineering to future generations of scientists and engineers. Drs Adrian Boyd (Course director BME), Richard Holmes and Patrick Dunlop (Research Fellows) from NIBEC joining the complement of Judges assessing the team’s performance.

The competition involved the design, construction and programming of the LEGO Mindstorms™ based robot, tasked with a number of activities related to biomedical engineering activities including insertion of a stent into an artery, detection and elimination of cancerous cells and repairing broken bones. Additionally, marks were awarded for a biomedical themed presentation, and for the all-important teamwork.

Pupils from 18 schools across Northern Ireland took part in the NI regional championship leg of the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition at W5 on the 1st December 2010. The competition is the world’s largest interactive robotics competition for 10 – 16 year old scientists and engineers.

Lego Comp 1

The LEGO League is being brought to Northern Ireland by a partnership of W5, The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), SAP Research Centre Belfast (SAP), Queens University Belfast, and The University of Ulster, with this years winners, St Patrick’s College, Belfast progressed to the UK and Ireland finals in Loughborough thanks to support from the Faculty of Computing and Engineering at the University of Ulster.
WInning Team
Teams this year included: -
•Antrim Grammar
•Aquinas Grammar
•Ballyclare High School
•Hazelwood College
•Limavady High School
•Lisneal College, Derry
•Lumen Christi College, Derry
•Magherafelt High School
•Parkhall College, Antrim
•Rainey Endowed, Magherafelt 
•Rockport School, Holywood
•St Colum’s College, Derry
•St Dominic’s College, Belfast
•St Killian’s College, Antrim
•St Malachy’s College, Belfast
•St Patrick’s College, Belfast
•St Paul’s College, Kilrea
•Thornhill College, Derry


The League was designed to introduce children aged 10-16 to the fun of solving real-world problems by applying maths, science, and technology. The partners are hoping LEGO League in Northern Ireland will help develop the next generation of innovators and drive forward the government's target to increase the number of undergraduate students involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects by 25 per cent by 2015.

The challenge video released for  the 2010 competition, demonstrated how tough the challenge actually was to solve.


More information on the competition and future competitions can be found at the following URL.

lego body forward.012


1) Grace under fire - Robots perform the tasks supervised by the teams and judges.
2) Dr Boyd (second from left), Dr Holmes (second from right) and Dr Dunlop (far right) with the winning team from St Patrick’s College, Belfast.
3) Dr Richard Holmes holding one of the trophies.