Sajid Aziz: Grade 8
On Sunday, February 25, 2017, the Buckley “Cyberdogs” robotics team participated in the First Lego League (FLL) robotics competition. The team advanced from the first competition in seventh place and won an award for Technical Design. After the first competition, the team spent their subsequent Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays revising and editing their programs and missions for the next stage of the contest.
The competition is comprised of three main sections: completing missions, research project, and core values. For the missions section, each team has to build and program a robot that will navigate through the field and complete tasks such as bringing something back to base. The robot has to start in base and can only be touched when it is in base. Each mission that the robot completes is worth a certain number of points. The highest score out of three rounds is counted. For the research project section of the competition, each team has to find a solution to a real-world problem. This year’s theme was Animal Allies. The teams had to find a way to become allies with animals in a way that would benefit both humans and animals. The final aspect is core values. The core values is a list of morals and goals that competitors try to achieve at FLL. Here are some of the core values:
- We are a team.
- We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
- We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
- We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
- What we discover is more important than what we win.
- We share our experiences with others.
- We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
- We have FUN!
Michael Powers and Lucas Bernard were the drivers for the missions aspect of the competition. Together, they work as one person, smoothly transitioning between missions. They scored progressively higher each round. The team finished in 5th place out of 40 teams in this area.
Sandeep Sood, Lindsay Fabricant, Kristin Yung, and Vincent Geiger researched a solution to elephant poaching in Africa. This is a big problem, because poachers are killing elephants in wildlife reserves for the animals’ valuable tusks. The Cyberdogs were able to come up with a solution that would solve this problem. They found that elephants have a different hearing range than humans. If a low frequency sound were played, it might cause the elephants to flee the area, and, therefore, flee the poachers. The sound would be played from a drone flying above the reserve. The team was fortunate enough to be able to get in contact with somebody who worked in a real wildlife reserve in Africa. Mrs. Linda Bernard’s cousin, Sean Kelly, listened to the team’s idea. He was impressed by the solution that they came up with. He said that he would be happy to try to bring the idea to his reserve and use it.
Kate Wehle and Sajid Aziz worked on the technical design aspect of the competition. For this, the teams are supposed to explain how their robot is built and why they built it like that. The Cyberdogs have always won an award in this part of the competition because of the sturdy robot design and thorough explanation.
Overall, the team excelled in all aspects of the competition, which helped them qualify to the next competition. This is the first time that the team has moved on past the second competition. The next stage will take place this summer in West Virginia from July 7-9.