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MoonBots 2012 The Thrive Award

The MoonBots 2012 judges have announced the awards.   Model Scout Robotics earned

The Thrive Award – For their effort to keep going no matter the personal obstacle. This team has surprised the judges for their completion of the lunar surface and the robot missions. Definitely deserve the ultimate Gold Star Robotics Merit Badge!

Our coach’s wife condition is stable.  We look forward to competing in MoonBots 2013 !

Here is a link to the project we built for the competition.

Vote for FLL Founder Slingshot Water Purification Device

from FIRST LEGO League HQ in  Manchester, NH

Check out this short film on FIRST founder Dean Kamen’s Slingshot water purification device, which was produced and directed by FRC Game Design Committee member Paul Lazarus. The film is currently a semifinalist in the Focus Forward Film Competition, and the FIRST family can help name it an “Audience Favorite” by voting for it online.  Watch the film, then click the “Vote Now” button that appears at the end – http://vimeo.com/focusforwardfilms/semifinalists/51890022

Introducing our FLL 2012 Senior Solutions senior partner

Model Scouts Matthew and Katie’s grandmother, Miss Daisy has been our Senior Solutions senior partner for First Lego League 2012.   She is an energetic, social butterfly of her senior living apartment community.   The team learned much from her on problems she has related to daily living as well as problems of her senior friends that live in her senior apartment complex.  The team picked one of the problems she described as the focus of our Senior Solutions project.

FLL 2012 Team Photo with our Senior Partner.  Not pictured: Veronica

Moonbots Demonstration

Our MoonBots team (Anthony, Katie, Matthew and Patrick) finished the video of our MoonBots game and our robot running some of the game mission tasks.

We have postponed our Outreach event until we have more of the mission tasks running well.   We designed our MoonBots lunar landscape game board to be easy to transport.  After we have more missions running well we will take it to out to demo to some local scouting groups.  We also plan to demo it at Moon Day (July 20, 2013) at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Texas.

We had a lot of fun working on MoonBots 2012 and we learned many new skills.  We are looking forward to MoonBots 2013.

Coppell FLL Scrimmage and Engineering Expo

Model Scout Robotics went to the Coppell FLL Scrimmage and Engineering Expo on Nov 10, 2012. Thirteen North Texas FLL teams participated.  Model Scout Robotics had the top score.  Our robot made some mistakes, but we still earned first place.   Here is the team with our “Cowstravaganza” First Place Robot Game trophy (photo coming soon).  Coppell Robotics First Tech team is called the Mad Cows — thus the cow themed trophy.

A big THANK YOU to Matthew Johnston and Coppell Robotics for hosting an excellent scrimmage.  We know how much work has to occur “behind the scenes” for events like this, and the whole team of Coppell organizers and volunteers are to be highly commended for their work.

We were also quite glad to see so many familiar faces from last year’s North Texas FIRST LEGO League competitions.  If we didn’t get a chance to properly say “hello” to you, it’s only because we were busy trying to watch other teams’ robots and fix some unexpected problems with our own! (Our robot failed spectacularly in its second round…  Lesson learned:  Always check that your sensor cables are plugged in fully at the start! :-) )  Best of luck to everyone at the regional qualifiers!

After participating in the FLL Scrimmage the team visited the Coppell High Engineering Expo which was adjacent the to FLL scrimmage.   Katie chatted with many of the colleges that were presenting at the Engioneering Expo.  The colleges were looking for students with past engineering and robotics experience which is good for our whole team.  Katie, Veronica and Walter visited most of the college booths.  Matthew and Anthony spent some of their time watching the Coppell Robotics basketball playing robot and talking shop with the team.

Community outreach to Troop 219 on Oct 8th

Our team visited Boy Scout Troop 219 at Christ Church in Plano TX on October 8th 2012.  Troop 219 is Model Scout Matthew’s boy scout troop.  The Beaver patrol asked us to help them with their robotics theme this month.  After introductions, SPL Alan sent the troop off to explore the 3 stations our team setup for them:

1.  An introduction to Lego NXT Mindstorms station.  Model Scout Katie went through the basic parts of a robotics system using a standard Lego educational kit.

2.  Our robotics solution to the FIRST LEGO League  (FLL) 2011 Food Factor Challenge.    Model Scouts Anthony and Walter ran this station.  We brought our foam-based travel FLL table so the robot had a bit of trouble navigating the different surface but most of the missions worked.

3. A station with a variety of Lego NXT Mindstorms based robots  that the team members have built.   Matthew, Veronica and Dr. Michaud ran this station.  Matthew also showed the NXT-G programming interface.

Selected photo of our community outreach event are below.

Dr Michaud introduces the Model Scout Robotics Team to Troop 219.

Robotics Station 1:

Robotics Station 2: First Lego League Robot Game Model Scout Robotics solution to 2011 Food Factor

First Lego League Demo at Troop 219

Robotics Station 3:   Line Following, Robotic Gadgets and Intro to NXT-G Programming

Matthew ready to present at the line following and gadget station

Robotics Station 3 Veronica, Matthew and Coach Patrick demo line following and robotics gadgets.

 

International Observe the Moon Night September 22 Field Trip report

What does Robotics have to do with the Moon?   Glad you asked.   Google Lunar X Prize is offering $30 million USD in prizes for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the Moon that can complete tasks as stated in the prize documents.   Google and several other companies also sponsor a competition for kids called MoonBots.  Model Scout Robotics has a team entered in this competition.  We are learning some astronomy as part of our work in this competition.

Model Scout Katie and her coach went on an astronomy field trip Saturday night September 22nd 2012 to participate in International Observe the Moon Night 2012.    The moon gazing party at the Rockwall Texas public library was led by Max Corneau, a local NASA JPL Space Ambassador.     Mr. Corneau had four telescopes set up to observe the moon.    The telescope provided a brighter and a more 3D effect than looking at pictures of the moon surface online.

Model Scout Matthew was on a boy scout trip at Camp James Ray on Lake Texoma near Pottsboro, TX. His patrol had an impromptu Moon Watch event at camp using binoculars instead of telescopes.   They used the materials published by International Observe the Moon Night to study the moon (pages 1 to 10).   Per Neil Armstrong’s family request, Matthew winked at the moon in honor of Neil Armstrong.  Here’s Matthew winking at the Moon in scout uniform to honor Distinguished Eagle Scout Neil Armstrong on flickr.  Here’s the worldwide IOMN 2012 Wink for Neil Armstrong photo group.

Below are some other photos from our participation in IOMN 2012.

International Observe the Moon Night 2012 is Saturday, Sept 22nd

This Saturday night, September 22, is International Observe the Moon Night.   Space enthusiasts with telescopes have planned moon observation events throughout the world.  Many of the events are open to the public.  To find a party near you, check out the event map at the International Observe the Moon event’s web site.    There are hundreds of moon gazer parties throughout the world.  Chances are there is a public moon watch event near you where you can talk with space enthusiasts and view the moon through their telescopes.   Our robotics club will be at a Dallas area public moongazer party.

 

Rest in Peace Neil Armstrong, First Man to Walk on the Moon

Neil Armstrong, American Astronaut, the first man to walk on the Moon on July 21, 1969, has died.

He lived an amazing and long life.   Some of his accomplishments: Eagle Scout, US Navy pilot, US Astronaut, Aeronautical Engineer, Space Program advocate, College Professor, Dad, Distinguished Eagle Scout, GrandDad.

Here’s a photo of Neil as a boy.  He grew up in Ohio and was a Boy Scout.  He earned his flying pilot license at 15 before he earned his car driver’s license.

He sent greetings to Boy Scouts at a Scout Jamboree from the Apollo XI mission and  even took his scout badge as one of few personal items on the Apollo XI mission.  So Scouting was important to him.

I’m  impressed with how he managed to be calm when his aircraft or spacecraft was malfunctioning — he was a brave man.    He used his brains to solve the problem and from what I read was always calm under adversity.

This is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  

         Neil Armstrong, July 21st, 1969, Apollo XI  from surface of the Moon

Sometime soon I hope to have time to read his full biography.   I’ve been pretty busy with soccer, scouting, MoonBots and First Lego League.

Rest in Peace Mr.  Armstrong.  Thank you for your service.