Monday, September 14, 2009

First Lego League Expo at Crabtree Valley Mall

Tom Settle is amazing when it comes to organizing First Lego League events. For those of you who don't know Tom, he teaches classes around the triangle for new First Lego League team members. To recruit new FLL teams in NC, Tom held a mock tournament at the Crabtree Valley Mall on Sunday 9/13. Hundreds of people showed up to watch and Tom explained how FLL works for five hours.

Tom asked several people from area teams to participate in this event, including members of the Microbots, Spacebots, Megallan Mariners, Metalic Waves, Tie-Died Tangerines, and others. Tom interviewed the teams and the coaches. Additionally, several team members from Team Awkward Turtle FRC showed up to referee the mock tournament. Several Microbots brought their robot and attachments, but boy, we really had no idea what to expect!

Early morning setup

The kids had a blast! It was not about winning and losing but just about having a good time. The Lego Store set up a booth and gave out information about the NXT. Several folks committed to forming new teams. Joe Meno took pictures for the upcoming Brick Journal. It was fantastic!

Afterwards, we went to the Kanki steakhouse with Al Childers, coach of the Magellian Mariners and Kyle Brown, coach of the Spacebots. I believe that these teams may be favored to win the NC FLL State Championship this year (but this should serve to motivate your team to knock them off :-)). Both coaches are veterans with wonderful teams.

Chris Childers had dinner with us and we finally got the opportunity to thank him for all that he had done to inspire us our first year. Chris has video of the young Microbots working with the 2006 NC FLL State Champion Magellian Mariners. I look forward to possibly posting it soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mastering First Lego League Part 2: Calibrating the Robot

This is the second in a series of articles about both basic and advanced techniques that can help your FIRST LEGO League team achieve mastery of the robot and the game. This article discusses the calibration of your robot as you prepare to solve this year’s challenges. It examines several aspects of robotics including the languages, drivers, motors, turns, and some of the elements that influence accuracy. In Part III of this on-going series, we will discuss the program framework, a necessary component for optimal robot running.

We finishing up the second installment of Mastering First Lego League for Brick Journal. This article also looks at things like batteries. We conducted a series of tests using Energizer Lithium Batteries. This article talks briefly about these tests and more tests will be forthcoming.