Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Research Begins

got robot? views a webcast about biomedical engineering.
The new season begins as it always does with brainstorming and research. This year's FLL theme is called Body Forward and is about biomedical engineering. After a ton of ideas the team decided to narrow our search to anything having to do with the head. 

In addition to research got robot? spent a day doing a lab on the ultrasonic sensor mapping out what it sees on a polar map. We discovered the sensor has a somewhat warped view of the world compared to what we see with our eyes. One thing for sure is this sensor will be a big help in locating targets on the mission mat.

Roger facilitates a brainstorming session.

Ryan and Marc work together mapping an ultrasonic sensor.

Roger and Kristen get a little nutty.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 got robot? Kickoff Meeting

As a new season begins got robot? had it's first meeting on Saturday, Sept 4th. This is our third year as a team and patterns of what needs to be done and how to approach challenges seems second nature. The team enjoyed hot dogs and reunion time and then reviewed the mission videos on Youtube. After that it was downstairs to build the table elements.

One of the things we're doing different this year is putting the robot away for a few weeks so the team can concentrate on the tools and attachments needed to manipulate the mission models. Once the tools are developed they will be modified to accommodate robot platform to deliver the tools to each mission. I  know of a couple champion teams that do this and it makes sense. Another side benefit is that each team member can contribute without competing for use of the robot.

2010-2011 FLL Team #280:  (left to right) Matt, Roger, Kristen, Marc, and Ryan

Marc uses his telekinetic abilities to levitate his teammates
Roger flies off to save a kitty stuck in a tree

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sorting and Preparation

The FLL Body Forward game elements arrived while we were away so our neighbor signed for the package and held it for us until we got back. This year everything was sent in one long box. The bags of LEGOS neatly tucked in the center of the rolled mission mat. There are quite a few LEGOs and the mission models will be fun. We got a lot of rubber bands--lots of pushing and activating this year. Matt and Kristen spent a couple days sorting the inventory into baggies so that every mission model will be ready to assemble at our first meeting. Should be fun--especially for Marc.

I haven't studied the mat very long but my first impression is that it's fairly open for navigation. Many of the mission models look to be set at angles away from convenient walls. I just hope there are more point and shoot missions for the newer teams this year. I thought last years challenge was tough for rookie teams.

This year got robot? has a returning team roster of five veteran members; Matt, Kristen, Marc, Roger and Ryan. Bradley and Jake have retired from FLL and will be missed.

On another note, my wife, Carol, is starting a rookie team at CWF (Christian Workshops of the Fox Valley), a homeschool co-op. So far, it looks like she'll have a team of 8-10 rookies. She's nervous but I have confidence she'll be a great coach.

Friday, July 23, 2010

And so it begins.

I received an email that the 2010 Body Forward field kit has shipped. It should be here on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Hard to believe the new season is around the corner already.

Oh, by the way our team number this years is 280. May God bless all coaches and students this year.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

1st Place Research Project Award!!

got robot? won the 1st place Research Project award at the Illinois State Tournament on Saturday, Jan. 16th, 2010. The got robot?'s project was chosen over 64 other top teams in attendance. Scott Evan's, game designer for FIRST LEGO Lego League and employee of FIRST, was in the room for call backs and observed the teams presentation to a panel of 13 judges. Scott (pictured in the hat) said in the 10 years he's been involved with FLL championship tournaments he's rarely sees such a quick decision for 1st place.

Pictured in the photo from left to right: Roger Dean, Marc, Matthew, Ryan, Coach Mr. McKellar, Kristen, Referee Marc Solomon, Scott Evans, Bradley, and Jake.

Friday, January 15, 2010

State Tournament - Friday Nite

Our team had its judging for State Tournament this evening. The Research Project, Teamwork, Technical, and Ambassador all in the span of 3 hours.

The team did a fantastic job and really made me proud. They know their stuff -- and it showed!

It was very loud in the gym to listen in on their technical judging but the kids said it went well. The judges seemed to like the engineering journal and asked a lot of questions.

There are a lot of really good teams here. Super Nova from Naperville is here and their coach and I had a chance to have a nice chat and swop stories.

It's been a long day. Time for some sleep!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New sponsor for INScITE Illinois

I'm proud to say that Maddock Douglas, Inc. is now sponsoring INSciTE Illinois, the operational partner for FLL in our state.

I work for Maddock Douglas and it gives me great pride to see a leading innovation agency partnering with an organization that nurtures the sense of wonder and innovation in America's next generation of thought leaders.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Massive Earthquake in Haiti

bounced from twitter @firstlegoleague

The thoughts and prayers of everyone at FIRST and the entire FLL community are with the citizens of Haiti. This is a terrible tragedy for the world. FIRST has not yet heard from our FLL Partners and team members in Haiti, but we remain hopeful that they and their families are okay. We will all do whatever we can to support them in the days ahead.