Lego is suffering a lot like Basketball…
During COVID-19, Lego is suffering a lot like Basketball…
If you have a basketball, you can start dribbling and developing your hand-eye coordination. You can play alone in your house, or take it with you to a playground.
If you have a bunch of Lego pieces, you can start building something alone in your house – without instructions, anyone or anything else – or you can take it outside.
With basketball, any sort of hoop helps. It is not fun with a rickety old backboard that shakes too much, or a bent rim, or a rim without a proper net.
Lego instructions make every build project swishy:
Perfect with a piece or two to spare: it's always simple, easy, and graceful.
That is the forte, a signature trademark of Lego cool-ness:
Perfectly packaged baggies of meticulously sorted pieces for everything that you need.
You can play basketball alone or with friends; it is a lot more fun with friends.
Building alone with Lego is nice because you can focus on your ideas. But it is more fun with friends because you can be inspired by each other’s creativity.
Of course, every player wants an opportunity to control the basketball.
But nobody likes a ball – hog.
Same thing with Lego!
There are some pieces that everyone needs; types of construction that everyone will do. For example, you cannot build an airplane without wings; a car without steering or wheels is hard to explain. (Dude, what is thaa~aat?!)
But nobody likes a piece – hog… that guy who grabs every cool piece and won’t trade… that girl that snatches all the shiny gems and exotic decal-ed pieces. Sharing is important in the group. It makes building fun.
Like basketball, Lego can be a very social gathering: clubs, events, competitions, parties, and even art. Like spinning a ball on your finger, there are master Lego builders that like to showcase the Art of Lego, their art!
This is why... during April & May, Dragomanns became involved with manufacturing hand sanitizer.
Yeah… hand sanitizer liquid, gel, and spray solutions will become a necessity when playing with Lego in a group. Because of the global health pandemic and social distancing, hosting Lego events – and sporting events like basketball – will become increasingly more difficult.
In fact, the 2020 WRO season has been cancelled. The World Robotic Olympiad was going to take place in Montreal, Canada this year, for the international Lego robotics championship.
Along with airports and airplanes, schools and libraries, stadiums and gymnasiums, Lego clubs stopped meeting.
Dragomanns could no longer host orientation sessions to introduce and excite eager young minds to build and program using Lego robots. We had to completely re-think how health & safety could be built into our business model. Dragomanns was planning on launching summer build events at a few sites in Chicago & the suburbs this year.
Although by the time K-16 students make it to tournaments, they are building with their own pieces, the initial coaching, interaction, and kinesthetic nature is really a social event. These events are especially important because parents, schools, teachers, and administrators get to interact with the technology & systems of play before investing money into a program or purchasing a robotics set.
(You can see the Dragomanns EV3 Mindstorm: Retail vs. Educational Models blog post for details.)
Facing the same problems as all classrooms in America, and even more so, due to the hands-on nature of Lego building, programming, and play, Dragomanns invested energy in researching hand sanitization solutions, and how they are manufactured. This was doubly exciting for us because it involved real industrial machines, and programmable logic control technology – reminiscent of the Lego EV3 intelligent brick.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using a high concentration of alcohol, like isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol to combat the COVID-19 virus. Microbiological research has demonstrated that a minimum of 60% volume/ volume ratio of alcohol is required to kill the virus.
Dragomanns were part of a team that helped manufacture a liquid solution containing more than 75% alcohol, volume/ volume so that it can be used safely on all of its Lego pieces, storage containers, battery packs, tools, EV3 bricks, motors, sensors, door handles, desks, chairs, computer screens, organizer trays, crates, keyboards…
You get the idea !
Dragomanns may not be as open for business as we had hoped to be in February 2020, when the WRO international game rules were published online… but we are ready and hopeful to continue inspiring the eager young minds of tomorrow in a safe, sanitized, and mentoring environment.
Like basketball, judges, rules, lines and healthy competition is so important when gauging one's skill. We play basketball and Lego for fun. It is easy to forget the time, and to be lost in our own world. That is why public competition, social events, and friendly local matches are so important.