Laurel Mountain Lego Robotics team advances to world championship tournament

The Laurel Mountain Elementary School Lego Robotics team, Lego Lions, has advanced to the First Lego League World Championship after winning the Central Texas first place championship award March 7.

The Lego Lions advanced to the world competition with their Haptic Vision project, which is also one of 20 semi finalists for the Global Innovation Award. The Lego Lions were the only team in the world to both qualify the Global Innovation Award semi finals and advance to the FLL World Championship.

The project addressed the issues of visually impaired children and their struggles to learn visual objectives in science, technology, engineering and math. The team created an open source application platform and has worked to recruit volunteer developers to improve, further develop and find solutions for the visually impaired.

“We’re super excited for the championship, but there’s one thing that we always stress to each other,” said Laya Yalamanchili, Lego Lions member. “Even after the competition is over, we’re not going to stop our research part because we’ve gotten really far. There are 20 million visually impaired children in the world and in order to help those kids, we want to continue this project even if we don’t win.”

The Lego Lions team consists of SriVaishnavi Marreddy, Laya Yalamanchili, Mihit Garlanka, Aneesh Vanguri, Lokavya Marreddy, Divyesh Kotthakota, and Kaavya Yalamanchili. Canyon Vista Middle School student Prabhav Vanguri is a team mentor.

The Lego Lions will be one of 108 teams from more than 50 countries to compete in the FLL World Championship in St. Louis, Missouri April 22-25. The team will also be among 50 teams representing the United States and Canada and one of three teams representing Texas.

“We are truly speechless at this accomplishment by our students at such an early age,” said Sarma Vanguri and Seshu Yelamanchili, Lego Lions coaches. “This is a true testament to the highest quality education, curiosity and the encouragement they receive from our school and community. We all should be very proud of the inspiration we provide to our kids to achieve such potential.”