Livingston Robotics Club (LRC) celebrated its successful year with the end-of-year party at Livingston Senior and Community Center on the evening of December 19, 2010.  This 4th annual party took place the day after the Landroids won the highest Award, the Inspire Award at the NJ FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) “Frozen Frenzy” Qualifier held at Livingston High School on December 18, 2010.  This gathering also celebrates the end of an intense 3-month of FIRST LEGO League competition season

As in the past years, the LRC party was an informal gathering of the LRC teams, with their parents and family members came together to meet, greet, and relax. More than 120 people from 10 teams attended at the party, which was doubled from last year.  One FIRST TECH Challenge team (high-school ages), four FIRST LEGO League teams (ages 9-14), and five Junior FIRST LEGO League teams (ages 6-9), all mingled and played together. The party included food brought in by each team in potluck style, children games and video show of various activities of member teams this year.  Even though FLL season is completed, the Jr. FLL program for 6-9 years old is still ongoing, and the team registration is open until April 2011.

Meanwhile, the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is still in full swing.  Landroids, the only FTC team of LRC, was recently qualified  to the NJ State tournament with a PTC Award in at the Moorestown event  two weeks ago, but was on a long waiting list for the 2nd qualifier which was held in our hometown Livingston High School, co-host by team Say Watt from Edison and Lancers from Livingston High School.  With only a 3-day notice that the Landroids has gotten a slot to compete, the teams worked tirelessly to refine its robotics programs, which has been a major challenge to control their latest engineering creation. 

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The Landroids robot which was equipped with over 30 sensors for navigation and specific magnetic object detection and automatic sorting, a complex holonomic drive system for maneuverability on a very crowded field, and a 4-way range of motion pneumatic arm and claw to pick up and dispose of selected game element, the batons.  It was designed to aim for the most difficult parts of the game challenge.  However, to orchestra such complex tasks and movement was a challenge itself. 

In addition, the Landroids robot has proven to be a powerful defense partner in the alliance rounds due to its agility.  The Livingston High School Lancers, who was the winning alliance captain, partnered up with the hometown neighborhood team Landroids, created a formidable pair at this qualifier to capture the winning alliance award.

In the end, Landroids received the Inspired Award to “honors the team that performs well in all categories and is viewed by other teams as the most desirable alliance partner and by judges as best exemplifying all components of the FIRST Tech Challenge philosophy.”  This is considered the most prestigious award in each FTC event.  With two FTC qualifying events in NJ so far, the two Livingston FTC teams, Landroids from the neighborhood team of Livingston Robotics Club and the Lancers from Livingston High School, each had received an Inspire Award at each qualifier.  This exemplified a high level of excellence and a strong awareness of FIRST programs in Livingston.

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