Obama’s LEGO lesson
February 18th, 2011
05:06 PM ET

Obama’s LEGO lesson

HILLSBORO, OREGON (CNN) - In an ongoing effort to push innovation, job creation, and a new relationship with the business community, President Obama toured the Intel facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon, and learned from young math and science students how his boyhood LEGO towers are a far cry from their bio-medical LEGO robots.

“I used to build some pretty mean LEGO towers when I was a kid,” the president told an audience of mostly Intel employees.  “I thought I could participate, only these students used their LEGO’s to build models, to build robots that were programmable, to model brains that could repair broken bones.”

The crowd erupted in laughter when the president, seemingly exasperated joked “so I guess that’s different than towers.”

The students are part of Intel’s STEM program which is tapping into young minds to help push the limits of technology. “This is really exciting,” the president said as the middle and high school students proudly explained nuclear fusion or asked him to press a button to make their robot move.  Mr. Obama, who said it all felt like Thomas Edison, exclaimed “it worked!”

It was a sobering experience for the Harvard educated leader of the free world.  Young people, the ages of his two daughters Sasha and Malia, talking “about things like quantum ternary algorithms,” the president said then added “it gave me a chance to nod my head and pretend that I understood what they were talking about.”

The Oregon visit is one stop on the White House’s “Winning The Future” tour. While Republicans have criticized the administration for spending too much time focused on investing in the future, and not enough time on reigning in the federal deficit, the president insisted new technology will create jobs and help the ailing economy recover.

The president said he was committed to “knocking down barriers that stand in the way of a company’s growth.”

“If we start rowing in the same direction, I promise you, there is nothing that we cannot achieve.”

Topics: President Obama • technology

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Sameer Verma

    Peru is investing in Lego WeDo robots and OLPC laptops. http://blog.laptop.org/2011/02/12/lego-wedo-oloc-peru/

    Wish we could too...

    February 20, 2011 at 8:30 am |
  2. Rhea

    LEGOS! AWESOME! This is a great way to get kids motivated in building stuff; a lot of tech guys use legos in their work even.

    February 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  3. JJ

    The cool thing about this LEGO team is that it was an all girls team. We definitely need more girls/female student to interest in science and engineering which are the two field usually dominated by males.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  4. Tom Brett

    I am the mentor for 12 teams at 3 different schools in the DC area. They are all competing in competitions that challenge them to go beyond what they think they are capable of doing. They use what they have learned in classes and apply this to real life problems. This program is a great opportunity for upper elementary and middle school kids. Besides, Legos are fun.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm |


    May 31, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Andres

      I am proud to say that on Tuesday, March 6th 2012 I will be voting for the first time in my life. And I am even more proud to say that the first vote I cast in my life will be for Ron Paul. I never had a sdriee to vote before. I always thought it was just a vote between bad and worse. So I was never motivated to vote. I was apathetic. But Dr. Ron Paul worked a miracle for me! Dr. Ron Paul cured my apathy!

      April 3, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  6. Marge

    Finllay! This is just what I was looking for.

    June 23, 2011 at 7:58 pm |