Students Exhibit LEGO Robotic Projects at RoboLab Mania!

5/12/2004 - After a year of hard work in the classroom with teachers and National Instruments engineering mentors, more than 300 Central Texas students showcase original LEGO robots at the fourth annual RoboLab Mania! on May 15. Students from 27 Austin-area classrooms and all grade levels will gather with their teachers, friends and families at NI headquarters in Austin, Texas, in celebration of student achievement with RoboLab technology and local teacher commitment to excite students about math, science and technology.

“Over the past four years, hundreds of future scientists and engineers have gathered at NI RoboLab Mania! to showcase their one-of-a-kind creations,” said Ray Almgren, NI vice president of product marketing and academic relations. “Through innovative programs such as RoboLab, students develop vital problem-solving skills while experiencing the fun and excitement of science and engineering.”

RoboLab is one of the many NI academic initiatives designed to introduce students to engineering, science and technology. RoboLab teaches students to combine NI LabVIEW-based software and familiar LEGO building blocks to create multifunctional robots while tackling some of the same real-world challenges as professional engineers. Each summer, NI grants scholarships to local teachers to participate in RoboLab training sessions at the University of Texas at Austin, where they learn how to integrate this hands-on tool into their classrooms and curricula.

“RoboLab has been an extraordinary teaching tool in my seventh-grade science classroom,” said Christel Snelson, a teacher at Ridgeview Middle School in Round Rock, Texas. “The RoboLab program has taught students to share ideas as a team, look at a problem from multiple angles and solve it in multiple ways. It’s phenomenal to have the ability to take something abstract and make it concrete and real for students.”

Snelson’s engineering club used RoboLab to create a rock quarry that will be displayed at this year’s event. Attendees also can check out projects such as space exploration vehicles and a “Martian zoo” and participate in hands-on NI product demonstrations to learn more about the company and its academic initiatives. The Austin community is invited to see young students at work with robotics at RoboLab Mania! 2004 on May 15 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. National Instruments is located at 11500 North Mopac Expressway.

About RoboLab
RoboLab is a joint initiative of National Instruments, Tufts University and LEGO Educational Division designed to help teachers interactively demonstrate engineering concepts in a fun environment to students of all ages. As many as 500,000 students worldwide and more than 4,500 in the Central Texas area have benefited from this technology. The software is based on the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, which engineers and scientists worldwide use in a wide range of applications, from making measurements in space to designing next-generation automobiles. For LEGO Mindstorms for Schools product information, visit For more information about the NI RoboLab program, visit

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation – a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,100 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2003, the company sold products to more than 25,000 companies in 90 countries. For the past five years, FORTUNE magazine named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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