The Lego Robotics Design Competition, otherwise known as 6.270, is one of MIT's first and most infamous hands on design classes. It was started in 1987 by Mike Parker as an answer to course 2's own design class. What separated the two though was that 6.270's robots were entirely autonomous, meaning that from the second they got into the contest, no human intervention was allowed. In the early days, these robots were simply simulated by programs running on a virtual course. But after a few years the organizers saw the need to have something with which to build actual robots.
This presented a problem, they needed tons of material that was safe and easy to build with, and most importantly, was cheap. This is when they turned to LEGO's. From then on the robots ceased to be lines of code competing on a virtual field, and became real, moving, fully operational machines. Moreover the addition of advanced sensors and servos over the years has given way to more intricate robots, and more difficult tasks.
Each year there is a new challenge presented to the students, a sort of obstacle course that the students must design for presented within the context of a grand theme. These have ranged from elevated platforms the robots must not fall from, to rings full of robotic mice the competitors must catch. This year however, the design contained not one but three challenges in a competition called Feudal Frenzy.