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.
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.
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.
Model Scout Matthew Thomas earned his Arrow of Light award and Webelos 20 Super Achiever awards at Cub Scout Pack 79’s Blue and Gold Banquet on February 19, 2012. He had a great time at Pack 79. Matthew chose Troop 219 as his boy scout troop.
Footage from his Webelos to Boy Scout crossover ceremony is available.
Here are videos of our quarterfinal and semifinal rounds at the North Texas Regional FLL Championship on January 21, 2012. We scored 205 points (our highest!) in the quarterfinal round and 195 points in the semifinal round. We made it to the final round and took second place, but couldn’t get a good video angle so we don’t have that one.
Many thanks to Michael Thomas for the video footage!
Here’s the quarterfinal round. The bacteria missed the sink in the final mission(s), so we didn’t get our robot-maximum of 209 points.
Here’s the semifinal round. The robot hit and moved the blue pollution ball as designed, but the ring moved with it so we didn’t get the points there. When turning to head to the far (east) wall, the angle was slightly off so we missed the purple bacteria dispenser.