Monthly Archives: February 2012

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!

North Texas Regional FLL Championship Playoff Videos

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.

ScoutBot retires

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we have retired ScoutBot after a great first season in FLL.     Our team sponsor requested that we not dismantle him and reuse the parts.  Scoutbot will stay assembled on a shelf in our lab with our trophies as a permanent reminder of our great first season in FIRST LEGO League.    We will still take ScoutBot out to community events.   Our coach ordered a replacement Mindstorms kit so we will have enough kits for next FLL season.

Team Model Scouts wins awards at 4th annual North Texas FLL Robotics Championship

Team Model Scouts 2011

Team Model Scouts (#8658) won two awards at the fourth-annual North Texas FIRST LEGO® League (FLL) Regional Championship robotics tournament.  The team placed 2nd in the Robot Performance Competition and received the Judges’ Award as special recognition of their overall performance at the tournament.  The team consisted of (left to right in photo) Brady Chanpong, Katherine Thomas, Matthew Thomas, Anthony Mellone, and Brendan Chanpong, all of Plano, Texas.

The FLL competition was produced by the Museum of Nature & Science and presented by Lockheed Martin.  Teams of young “engineers-in-training” spent months studying food safety, then built and programmed autonomous robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS technology to score points in 2.5-minute “mission” matches on a food safety themed playing field. Over 150 teams from the North Texas region competed in five regional qualifiers in December 2011; the top ten teams from each qualifier were invited to compete in the regional championship on January 21, 2012.

With a mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, FLL engages kids through exciting, mentor-based programs that build math, science and technology skills. Aimed at an international audience of students, ages 9 through 14, the competition teaches real-world problem solving through engineering design and teamwork.

Anthony wins at Science Fair

Congratulations to Model Scout Anthony Mellone for 1st Place in the 2011-2012 Science Fair at Skaggs Elementary. His entry was “Phosphates, Nitrates, and Alkalinity! Oh My!”. He tested the levels of pollution from different sources of water; both naturally occurring bodies of water and tap water.

Matthew and Brady place at Scout Derby

Model Scouts had a great showing in their packs’ Pinewood Derby on January 28th, 2012.

Matthew at 2012 Derby

Matthew’s pinewood derby car, Salute to the Pittsburgh Steelers, took 2nd Place in the Fastest Car category.   Brady’s car, Army Green monster, took 3rd in the Fastest category.

They did a great job considering the derby was a week after the FLL Regional Championship.