LIVINGSTON, NJ — The seven fifth-and-sixth grade boys that make up the T3CFAN (The Team That Couldn’t Find a Name) robotics team shared their project idea for this year’s First Lego League (FLL) Robotics Challenge with the Livingston mayor and council on Monday.
Team T3CFAN is made up of four fifth graders and three sixth graders who are participating in this year’s FLL challenge, which is annually based on a real-world scientific topic. The team is required to build, test and program an autonomous robot using Lego Mindstorms based on this year’s challenge, Hydro Dynamics.
On Monday night, the team gave an overview of their project ideas for the three major parts of the challenge: core values, project and robot performance.
“Our project is inspired by the apocalyptic devastation caused by hurricanes in recent times and the global drinking water prices that it causes,” they said. “The solution we chose to work upon is to provide timely and clean drinking water to hurricane-ravaged areas.”
The team members met with Roseland’s environmental center as well as the Livingston water and sewage departments to learn about how sewer plants create an environment for microorganisms to thrive and treat the sewer water before it is released back into the environment.
“The trip to Livingston Water taught us how water is stored in wells and treated for distribution to homes,” they said. “After considerable research and brainstorming, we identified a problem and made a solution.”
Because only 2.5 percent of Earth’s water is fresh, the team’s original idea was to change salt water into fresh water—until the boys discovered that only 1 percent is easily accessible. Their new idea is to change floodwater into fresh water due to the number of recent hurricanes.
“There are tons of people without access to fresh water, and each hurricane affects about 30,000 people,” they said. “One person has to drink about two liters of water per day. That equals about 60,000 liters of water per day to help the victims of a hurricane.”
Their solution consists of four key components: a control room, a filtration system, an on-land boat and a drone.
Their research determined that drones are being used in South Africa to deliver medicine and collect blood samples from inaccessible areas, so the boys thought, “Why not use drones to deliver fresh water?”
“We, as a group have talked about using drones,” they said. “Why are we using drones? Firstly, because they are programmed to go to smaller areas where boats can’t reach and they are portable, meaning they take up less space and weight on the boat. Secondly, machines don’t get tired. Also, they provide fast relief for everyone. And last but not least, they are environmentally friendly, which means they to not emit any pollution to harm the environment. Also, they are chargeable—we talked about using solar energy to charge the drones so we don’t have to waste or use any batteries.”
In addition, the boys stated that their solution will also “save precious manpower that can be used for other disaster relief.”
“Everything is impossible until it’s done,” they said. “The objective of our solution is to provide safe drinking water to flood-ravaged areas. Our project is capable enough to cover about six miles and deliver 160 liters per day. This is as much as a week’s supply of water for a family.”
Team T3CFAN will present their full project at this year’s FLL competition. The teammates and their parents thanked the mayor and council for taking the team to recognize their hard work.
“It’s very exciting to know that we’re generating so much talent in this town and so much creativity,” said Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein. “It just speak volumes about the kind of kids we’ve got running around here, so it’s good stuff.”
To read more about the Livingston Robotics Club, click HERE.