I just got back from one of the most amazing LEGO related trips I have ever been on. Along with 14 other LEGO Mindstorms builders, I was in Doha, Qatar for the 2015 World Robot Olympiad finals. We were there as ‘Mindstorms Experts’, to inspire and entertain the attendees with our own LEGO robots. Now, having only ever built two EV3 models, I don’t consider myself anything even remotely close to an expert, but Marc-Andre was still kind enough to invite me along for the ride.
The venue was enormous, and we were set up in some stalls in the yellow section of the picture below, modeled after a traditional souq (marketplace).
I didn’t actually get much of a chance to take in the event myself, as we were swamped with people the entire time, but there were over 1000 students in 450 teams from all over the world testing their robots in various competitions. The highlight of the event for me was meeting all of the other builders I was with, most of whom I only knew beforehand through their online presence. I didn’t get a chance to take pictures of all of them with their robots, but here are a few.
It was definitely the most impressive display of Mindstorms creations I have ever seen in one place. Just check out this list: Michael and Michelle with the Cubestormer 3 and 6-axis Robot Arm; Mark and his parents with ELFi; Marc-Andre’s R2-D2 and 3D Printer; Anika’s Fish Hunting Shark and NXT Lab; Andreas and Henning’s Paper Cube Factory; and too many robots to mention from the legendary Yoshihito and Vassilis (Nextstorm).
Aside from the event itself, many of us were there for a couple of extra days, and made as much of them as we could. We had so much fun bashing through dunes, riding camels, sampling Arabic coffee, wandering through Souq Waqif, admiring the architecture, visiting the Museum of Islamic Art and eating like Persian Royalty.
If you ever find yourself in that part of the world all of the above are highly recommended.
I’m not sure when I’ll have the opportunity to go on an adventure like this again, but if I do I already can’t wait for it to begin!