Monthly Archives: July 2012

Walter and Veronica join Model Scouts

We have 2 new team members.   Walter is a Webelos II scout in Pack 1113.   He’s on Matthew’s Select soccer team, loves building LEGO projects, is an awesome long distance runner and is a regional science fair winner. Veronica is his sister. She is also a Select soccer player, a great Lego builder and a district science fair winner.

It’s too late to have Walter and Veronica join the MoonBots build, but they are officially on our First Lego League team roster.

Welcome to the team Walter and Veronica!


Moon Day booth success!

The whole Model Scout Robotics family (scouts, parents and and coaches) had fun at Moon Day at Frontiers of Flight Museum on July 21st.   I’ll post photos and video when I get them from parents.

Moon Day is a local event that celebrates the anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the moon on July 20, 1969.   Model Scout Robotics ran the Circle 10 Boy Scout booth and our team’s booth — we were busy!    The scouts took several breaks from our booth to visit other booths and take part in the youth activities.   Each team member got a Lunar Sample Bag from the museum staff with lots of space related goodies.   (The team van now sports a NASA sticker. )

At our booth, the scouts shared their adventures and successes as a North Texas student robotics team.   Showed other kids and adults some of our team NXT Lego Mindstorm creations.    The younger kids loved watching us rerun our First Lego League 2011 robot, ScoutBot, doing the challenges.   The older kids liked running our tele-operated robots(claw, forklift) .  We were simulating control on Earth of 2 robots on the Moon.  Our coach controlled his NXT robot on the museum floor via bluebooth using Android phone app.

Our team mom was busy too – publicizing the new BSA STEM Nova awards that encourage youth to explore STEM subjects in the boy scout program and  the First Lego League robotics program open to youth teams age 10 to 14 in North Texas.

Matthew got interviewed for a story on local youth robotics.

The team parents’ ran the booth part of the time so scouts could tour the other booths at Moon Day and attend a couple of classes on Moon research and making artificial moon dust.  Matthew and Anthony got to touch a real moon rock.

The museum put all of the robot groups in the same floor area, so it was easy to talk shop with the other teams.   We visited with the other FIRST LEGO League team at the event, Iron Reign of Dallas.  They were at the Dallas Personal Robotics Groups booth.  They brought the Moonbots 2011 landscape and their robot.

Our booth was between to the Dallas Mars Society and Dallas Personal Robotics Group.  It was cool that the Dallas Area Rocketry club was across the aisle from us too.

Dallas Mars Society brought their Mars Curiosity rover model and their Mars landscape.   They gave us tips on making a moonscape inexpensively.    We liked their rover’s camera system — wireless, full color display and the small camera can run on 9volt battery.    It is a Lorex LW1001.   Our coach is buying our team one of these cameras.   It might come in handy for Moonbots Phase II.

It was quite a day.    We provided community service to Circle 10 and the community, got a team field trip, practiced our speaking and presentation skills to get ready for upcoming FLL season and got some great tips that will help us in Moonbots Phase II, if we make the finals.


Moonbots 2012 Phase One team video complete

Model Scouts submitted their entry for Phase I of the MoonBots 2012 competition.   Luckily, Moonbots gave teams a three day extension; we used the time to polish up our video a bit. We also had to make some minor changes after we reviewed the long official rules with our video.

The script, storyboard, lego model and team member video clips on green screen was easy for us.   We watched many video clips on JPL and NASA to find the best ones for our video.   The video filming of the Phase I to Phase 4 robotic lunar base on green screen was more of a challenge.  The lunar base time sequence filming was a bit harder.   The blueprint was created with Photoshop on a still of the lunar base.

The hardest part for us was finding the right music.  Luckily we found Kevin MacLeod  at Incompetech Music after doing a Google search for “creative commons instrumental music”.    We wanted to use Star Trek music but our team sponsor was concerned about publishing a video with copyrighted music or copyrighted non-government funded groups (like NASA, JPL, ESA) photos or video clips on You Tube.

We used OpenShot Video Editor for our project.   It runs on Linux operating system and was FREE.  Our team captain recommended it.   Our team sponsor arranged a donation to them on our behalf after we successfully used it on this project.

We also used Adobe Photoshop (educational license) on Windows for special effect work.

Registered for 2012 FLL Season

We are officially registered for the 2012 FLL Season. You can learn more about First Lego League, form and register a team with friends.

The field set for the robot game arrives early August 2012.

Team FLL kickoff event planned for August 25, 2012 at 2pm in the team lab.   Model Scout Robotics is FLL Team #4934 in 2012.  We are really excited about the upcoming Senior Solutions FLL season!

Model Scout Robotics will be at Moon Day

Model Scout Robotics will celebrate Moon Day on Saturday July 21st  2012 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field Airport.  You can find us at the Circle 10 Council Boy Scout booth at the event.   Here’s the event flyer if you want to come: Moon Day 2012 at Frontiers of Flight Museum

We will be showing some of our robotic creations, telling other kids how to get started in robotics and showing our entry in the Moonbots 2012 competition.   The Circle 10 booth is also showing BSA’s new STEM NOVA awards for Cub, Boy Scouts and Venturer scouts. Robotics is one of the award’s concentration areas.

Of course, the team will check out the other cool booths.   Moonbots has put us in Astronomy and Space Exploration mode.


Working on Moonbots video

It was a long but productive team meeting today.

Matthew demoed his new monorail robot – it does a great job of climbing a staircase bannister.  Not what our coach probably had in mind for a stairclimber but its cool and creative.

We finished the script for our Google Moonbots video and shot footage of the team with green screen  on camera.   Will review team videos from coach library for clips to add in the team section for the video.   We need more wow factor in the  video ending.

For background music,  music from Stargate or Star Trek  is not going to happen.   You Tube might delete our video if the background music is copyrighted and violates “fair use copyright law”.   Looking for  license free background music.

The team built the lunar base from last meeting for use in our video.  We found most of what we needed from other Lego models around Matthew’s house so the build did not take long.    Need to film the base progression sequence tomorrow and switch to background clips on real lunar robots that do not have copyright issues.   Will switch from SpaceX to Dragon rockets in title sequence.

New Mars Rover Robot lands on Mars on August 6th

At end of today’s team meeting, we watched a short video on the upcoming Curiosity robotic rover landing on Mars called “Challenges of Getting to Mars: Zero Margin of Error” available on YouTube.   We discussed the engineering challenges, the meaning of zero margin of error and its ramifications.   The pictures of Curiosity on JPL’s web site show what looks to be the most sophisticated real robot we have seen.

Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars on August 6th, 2012 at 12:30am CDT. Coverage of the event is planned on the NASA JPL channel. Mark your calendar and set an alarm.


Team Meeting results: Moonbots Lunar Base for video and game board Ultimate Landscape

We designed a lunar base for robot explorers (and humans) at our team meeting today.

We also designed on paper our Ultimate Lunar Landscape draft for our MoonBots entry.  Coach showed us the basic rule requirements.      We want our entry to reflect real world planned missions so we reviewed mission in the Google Lunar X Prize.   Checked out Team Astrobotics plans (our sponsor is a fan of Dr Red Whittaker’s robotic wonders) .     Sponsor recommended checking our NASA JPL site for ideas too.  Also brainstormed about some challenge tasks for a robot game based on the moon so our planned landscape can support. Coach reminded us that we don’t need much info on mission or mission elements until Phase II.   Just need enough info to plan a board that gives us challenge opportunities.

If our missions reflect NASA and other nations real planned or executed missions this would help us educate other kids.    We need cool but doable missions for wow factor in Phase II.