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Igutech wins FLL Tournament

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 12, 2010


Back left to right: Stewart Albert, Justin Evans, Jackie Katz, Coach Harald Guenther,
Jonathan Snyder, Ferdinand Schall, Sydney Neth.
Front left:
Tilman Guenther, Henrik zu Jeddeloh

Schnecksville, PA, December 12, 2010: The Schnecksville FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) team had a huge success Saturday December 11 winning first place the regional science and robotics competition at the Conrad School of Science in Wilmington, DE. The team from Schnecksville, known as Team Igutech, was awarded the prestigious “Champion’s Award” and thus qualified to participate in the next level FLL tournament (Championships on January 22, 2011). More than 30 teams competed in this all-day event from the Tri-State area.
Six of the eight Igutech members are Orefield Middle School 6th graders: Sydney Neth, Jackie Katz, Justin Evans, Stewart Albert, Jonathan Snyder, Tilman Guenther – plus 6th graders Henrik zu Jeddeloh and Ferdinand Schall from other local schools. "It’s a fantastic achievement to win this qualifier", stated Harald Guenther, coach of Schnecksville's Igutech team. "It is only our second season and this year’s challenge was much harder than the previous one, especially the tasks in the robotics category. We did well, but hope to teach our robot even more tricks by the time we go to the Championships in January 2011," he added.
This year's challenge (internationally published by FLL in early September) was to pick a problem from the complex field of bio-medical engineering, and research solutions. Coach Guenther organized after school field trips to local companies including Atmos, BBraun and Aesculap where the boys and girls learned about bio-medical work first hand. “Everyone was really helpful and willing to teach us about their company’s specific products and research. We asked tons of questions and they really took the time to share their knowledge with us. At the same time the engineers were impressed by our work with LEGO robots and the programming we do”, says Tilman Guenther who started the team in February 2009 with his father. After speaking with Parkland High School science teacher Laura Kowalski and Lehigh Valley Hospital neurologist Dr. Lorraine Spikol, the Igutechs decided to select Multiple Sclerosis (MS)  related walking difficulties as their research topic. They studied the impacts of MS on the central nervous system as well as existing MS therapies before coming up with an innovative  therapy idea utilizing nanobots.
At the Delaware tournament the team was judged on its research as well as their performance in a teamwork exercise. They were also judged on their robot design, robot programming and finally the performance of the robot on the game field.

For more information about the winning team, please see www.igutech.org !

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an exciting and fun global robotics program that ignites an enthusiasm for discovery, science, and technology in kids ages 9 to 14. This year about 95,000 students are participating in FLL teams nationwide with 15,000+ teams in over 50 countries. Each year FLL teams embark on an adventurous Challenge based on current, real-world issues. Guided by a team coach and assisted by mentors, the kids build and program a Lego robot that autonomously completes a series of missions on a 4' x 8' playing field. Points are scored for completed missions in a 2:30 min time frame, for innovative robot design, team work and a presentation of a research project the team has completed.

FIRST (FIRST - For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by inventor Dean Kamen to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.


Team Igutech visits Aesculap Spine

Aesculap-logo[Sydney N] On Friday May 28, 2010, Coach Harald took Team Igutech to Aesculap Spine in Breiningsville, PA. Our hosts: Mr Christian Gabriel (Director Marketing Orthopedics), Mr. John Love (VP of R&D at Aesculap) presented the history of Aesculap and introduced us to the staff. We learned how high-tech surgical knee, hip, and spine implants are made. During their presentation, we had the best cookies, fruit, popcorn, and drinks.

Our hosts lead us on a tour through the Aesculap building. On our first stop, we got to see a 3D design demonstration of a tadpole. They showed us how we could change the shape, length, and width of the tadpole using the Catia Software. Then we went to the test lab. At the test lab, they test the strength and durability of their spine implants. Their robot works 24 hours for six weeks and runs 5 million cycles.


Then we visited the machine shop. The first two robots we saw were the four and five axis milling machines that shape soft metal parts for their products. Then we saw the EDM machine that cuts soft and hard metal with hair fine wire. We got to put our hands in the gloves that go inside the sand blasting box. We met a really cool laser welding technician who sat in a purple chair showed us how he uses the equipment. Jackie put on his welding helmet! At the quality control lab, we saw how they project an image (magnified by 60, 100, and 200) to check the final product against the blueprint.

Igutech_visit_100528_groupBack at the conference room, they showed us the knee and hip implant products and how they secure them. They explained the types of metals and plastics used then we were lucky enough to touch the products. They felt so smooth that you might think it was real cartilage. We celebrated the end of our trip with the Aesculap Skeleton!

Thanks to Aesculap and Coach Harald, it was the coolest trip ever. I was really happy we got to interact with the staff and products!