October 17, 2013 at 1:10 PM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston Robotics Club (LRC) recently started its season of FIRST Lego League (FLL), a robotics program for 9 – 14 year olds. The club is readying 67 students in 11 teams for competition at the Nov. 23 New Jersey qualifiers.
The FLL program is made up of a two part program in which children and teens can participate. In the first part, teams will work together to identify a real-world issue related to each year’s theme and will work to create an innovative solution. For the second part, teams will build a robot using a LEGO robotics kit to perform pre-defined missions in competitive matches. Core value and teamwork are emphasized throughout the participation in both parts.
LRC has been participating in the FLL program since 2007 and has grown from one team to 11. This year, the veteran teams, Exit 5 Robotics, Alpha Force Mark VI, Technomes, Power Legends, Protocol 9, Super Solutions, and PowerFlow are joined by brand new teams, Spongebots, Dragobots, Monsterbots and MEGOMotors. Two of the new teams are graduates from the younger division of the club called Junior FLL which is another robotics program for children ages 6 – 9.
This year’s theme, “Nature’s Fury,” has a focus on preparedness and recovery related to natural disasters. FIRST, the organizer of the program based in New Hampshire, encourages students around the world to come up with some innovative solutions to help people prepare, respond, and recover from the next disaster.
To help the teams identify current issues, LRC held a series of expert sessions at its Livingston clubhouse. On Sept.11, LRC teams also attended a Skype lecture with System Engineer Ryan Kelly from Virginia, to learn about snow storm accumulation prediction on the highway system, and the impact of earthquakes on the east coast.
LRC attended a second session on Sept. 27 with an army corp. of engineer, Dr. Roy Messaros, who is also a hydrology professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, to learn about the causes, impact and remediation of flooding.
The final session LRC attended on Oct. 2 was with Livingston town manager, Michele Meade, to learn about township emergency preparation and responses during natural disasters.
After these expert lectures, the teams are now getting themselves ready to come up with their solutions. Presentations will be conducted at the FLL qualifying competition on Nov. 23.
Teams will also compete in the robot games on the same day. The qualifying events which are free and open to the public will be held at Hillsborough High School, Clifton High School, Pascack Hills High School in Montvale, Steinert High School in Hamilton, Bridgewater Middle School, Layayette Middle School and Ewing High School.
For more information and the details of the FLL competitions, visit www.livingstonrobotics.org.