Category Archives: Field Trips

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

Matthew at UTD Robotics Camp

Model Scout Matthew spent the week at the Lego Mindstorms Robotics Day Camp offered by University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).     The program has a well equipped lab for students working with Mindstorms projects.   Dr. Kenneth Berry’s team staffs the camp.

Matthew had a great time.  He worked on several challenges.  His favorite project was building a remote control truck with 2 NXT bricks communicating via Bluetooth.

More information on UTD SEEC camps, can be found here: http://www.utdallas.edu/seec/RoboticsSummerCamps.html

Matthew leaves tomorrow for his first boy scout summer camp.

Matthew and Anthony win at DPRG Roborama2012a

Matthew and Anthony for Roborama 2012aOn May 12, 2012, team members Matthew Thomas and Anthony Mellone placed first and second in the Junior Level Line Following contest at the Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) Roborama 2012a competition.

For the Line Following contest, robots had to successfully make two laps around a course indicated by black electrical tape on white vinyl tile. Matthew’s robot (“Heinz Doofenbot”) completed 2 laps of the course in 75 seconds; Anthony’s robot (“Subatomic Fusion”) had difficulty with one of the sharper curves but still earned second place. Both Matthew and Anthony received gift certificates to mindsensors.com and Tanner Electronics for their entries.

Below is a video of Matthew’s winning run. You can also see other videos of Model Scouts robots at Roborama 2012a, the full Roborama 2012a video playlist, and other pictures from the event.

Coach Patrick also entered some events at Roborama. We’re all looking forward to the next DPRG contest!

Model Scouts tours Robotic warehouse

Today was a school holiday, so Model Scouts headed to Dallas to tour the Mary Kay Cosmetics automated warehouse there. We visited the warehouse that stores products after production  but before shipped to the US regional and international distribution centers to fill customer orders. 2 managers walked us through the facility and showed us how their system works. We watched the robotic vehicles move pallets through the warehouse past automated inspection and shrink-wrap stations into holding areas where fast robotic arms picked up pallets and whisked them to high bay storage locations We also watched a mechanic instruct a robotic vehicle after its sensor found an obstacle in its path. We had an open discussion with the control room’s staff on the similarities of our Lego NXT Mindstorm robots with their robotic system. Their system uses metallic lines in the concrete floors for navigation where we tend to use light sensors, motor rotations and table edges to navigate our hobby robots. We were impressed that their system had a greater than 99% system accuracy score each month. Our team robot designs are accurate but not 99% yet! We were surprised to learn that the original Mary Kay automated storage and retrieval system was installed at the warehouse in Dallas in 1987. Thank you Mary Kay for a great tour!

Model Scouts visit Texas BEST Robotics competition

Matthew, Anthony and Dr. Michaud attended the Texas BEST Regional Robotics competition in Garland today.    This year’s theme was BUGS!  They had fun touring the teams’ booths and watching the competition.   They seemed happy!  They  learned about this competition and watched teams of 20 to 25 middle to high school students busily working on their project.  Our team is brand new and younger (10 years to 14 years) but we find it challenging to keep organized with only 5 members!

 

Unofficial FLL Scrimmage at Coppell Engineering EXPO

We went to a scrimmage today to practice being at an FLL tournament.  The scrimmage was part of Coppell High School’s Engineering Expo.  So the afternoon was part scrimmage and part field trip.    Robbie worked quite well on their FLL tables.  We earned 121 points in the robot game.  There were a few waves in the mat.  We wonder if the regional qualifier tables will be similar.  A big thank you to Coppell Robotics’ FLL Team “The Mad Cows” for putting on the scrimmage event!

Also, did you know that Coppell High School has an engineering booster club?  Parents and the community really support the education of their future engineers in that city. Awesome!