Summer camp ECubers uses Lego to build engineers of the future

ESE Academy aims to get more young people ‘excited’ about the evolving profession

Aideen O’Hagan and Anna Ryan are pictured at an ECubers summer camp at the University of Limerick.

Aideen O’Hagan and Anna Ryan are pictured at an ECubers summer camp at the University of Limerick.

 

Summer camps designed to encourage young people, particularly young girls, to choose engineering as a career are using Lego software and construction products to promote the “fun” aspects of the profession.

The ECubers summer camps, held at the University of Limerick, puts Lego Technic Sets and Lego Mindstorms at the heart of its mission to “encourage creative and technical skills”.

Students aged 13-15 years old using Lego bricks and software to build and program devices including one called “the Great Ball Contraption”, the organisers said.

ECubers is run by the ESE Academy, an industry-led, not-for-profit initiative aiming to increase Equipment Systems Engineering (ESE) education.

The ESE Academy was set up by Irish-owned software engineering company SL Controls in conjunction with the University of Limerick.

Mentors on the programme include experienced industrial experts, the university’s Mechatronics students and transition year students.

“Very little has been done to explain to young people - especially young girls - how much engineering has evolved over the last 20 years,” said SL Controls co-founder and chief technology officer Shane Loughlin.

“We want to get young people excited about, and interested in, engineering - and what could be a more fun way to do that than by using Lego.”

The Danish toymaker first introduced Lego Mindstorms in 1998. The kits contain both software and hardware, allowing enthusiasts to create programmable robotic devices using Lego bricks. They are often used in educational settings.