Saturday, September 18, 2010

New FIRST LEGO League Season has begun

Wow - it is hard to believe that the 2010 Body Forward™ Challenge has already begun. The Microbots signed up again this year and we are wondering how best to participate. Look for articles in BrickJournal magazine as we try to help teams with some of the issues that they face.

Issue 11 of BrickJournal starts our discussion of batteries. In part 1, we look at battery characteristics. In part 2 (slated for issue 12), we look at voltage and its effect on the robot.

We wish all of the teams who are participating in FLL the best of luck this year. We have heard that the challenge is really tough. Good luck to all!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Microbots’ Robot Design

Our robot design is built to traverse the uneven terrain found on the moon. The design in LEGO Digital designer shows the brick layout but several parts such as the wheels are not available in LDD. This design was selected for the maneuverability on the bumpy LEGO surface.

The robot has three sensors and a camera. On the right side is a compass sensor that allows more precise accuracy on turns. On the left side is a touch sensor to start the robot. There is a light sensor near the left wheel to allow the robot to understand when it has reached the Peak of Eternal Light.
The arm in front allows the robot to pick up the various items that it will be collecting along the way.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Microbots MoonBots Video Version 2.0


We know it won't count with the judges, but it's fun watching MoonBots videos, and we had some great ideas that we just didn't have time to put in our first video before the deadline! So here is Microbots MoonBots video essay version 2.0!

Hope you like it!

Go MoonBots!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BrickJournal Issue 10

A new BrickJournal magazine comes out every two months with a Mastering FIRST LEGO League article. We wrote an article in this issue that discusses the various ways to turn the robot. This may sound easy but there are many different and interesting ways to turn the robot. Enjoy pictures of the various FLL teams that are included bimonthly in our column.

Who knows, maybe we will do an article on the MoonBots challenge.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Robot Design

Our robot design is unique in many ways. It can easily traverse the ridge while maintaining its alignment. It can pick up the elements, find its way to the various challenges, and use changes in the color of the terrain to position itself, while filming the whole thing. We put a quick video on our share which shows us testing it using bluetooth. We can't wait to get the obstacles and make it autonomous.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The MoonBots Challenge

Phase I of the the MoonBots Challenge is finished and the theme of our research presentation was "A Cloud on the Moon". The following cover appears at the end of our video and shows a Microbot planting the Google flag on the moon. The video was shot at our FRC team HQ in Regency Park, a corporate office building in Cary, NC.

Our logo is the three Microbots that appears on the bottom of the magazine cover. The Microbots were built as LEGO structures and are standing on the grey plates that we used to test our robot design.

You can find many of the video pieces as well as the submitted video at (look for  Moonbots Video v05.wmv).

Our submitted video was posted on YouTube on May 28th (

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Go Microbots!

You guys did an AWESOME job editing! I looked at some of the other MoonBots team videos, too, and they are a lot of fun to watch! There were a lot of great ideas, too, but I still like ours best!!!

I really like our awesome robot, too! Thank you Mr. Miller for letting us do this challenge, and giving us all the cool robot pieces and the awesome new program to edit our video! It was a lot of fun! You're awesome!

I hope we get to go to Phase 2!!!

Go Microbots!


Sunday, May 30, 2010

End of Phase 1

From the MoonBots blog:

Thank you all for all your hard work. The judges will be looking at your work over the next few days in order to decide the final 20 teams that will be moving on to Phase II. We will make an annoucement on or before June 21st.

Stay tuned. We hope you had fun and thanks again.

Like many of the MoonBot Challenge teams, we are eagerly awaiting the results of Phase 1. Will we be one of the lucky teams selected to move on? Looking around, there are so many good videos, web sites, and robot designs. Wow! So many teams worked hard to shine!

Our team is from three different areas of NC so it takes a lot of work to get together. But our parents were really cool. We met many times during the week and the weekend to get all of our video footage together.

Phase 1 closed Saturday morning at 2:59 am est. and Friday morning we still had a lot of editing. We had no idea how labor intensive the editing process would be. We spent the whole day trying to make our video exactly three minutes. It is amazing how much time that video editing takes.

Good luck to all of the teams! Being part of this competition was a lot of fun!


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finishing Moonbots Phase 1

It was so much fun making our video! Going over the video segments was a lot of fun, too! I'm really glad we planned it all out in advance though! I never would have guessed 3 minutes would fill up so fast!! I hope we get to move on to Phase 2 so we can use our bloopers in our Team Documentary! :P

I really hope we move on to Phase 2 mostly because I am really looking forward to programming our robot for the whole Challenge! I am totally excited about the camera and the compass! I have never programmed those components before and I think our newest build is totally ready for The Challenge!

I'm having a lot of fun! Thanks for inviting me to do Moonbots with you! Go Microbots!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Moving Forward With Moonbots

We are moving forward with our work on the LEGO robot design and video presentation. The script is now completed and we start video today. Gala has done an awesome job in getting all of this together. We may go shoot it over at the Turtle Nest or at my house. I am installing Adobe Premiere on my laptop to get ready to edit all of the parts. I have been thinking about whether to add animation or compose the music behind the credits. We will see how much time that we have.

The robot is just about done. Our original design just didn't get over the ridge in the center of the map so we changed it up a bit.We now have the camera attached and will do some programming today as well. We still have a lot to do and not much time left. It always seems like our meetings fly by.

The team is having a really great time and is really working hard. Zack and I have known each other for four years and really like building LEGO robots. Gala was part of our FRC team and is an awesome programmer, researcher, and brings everything together. I feel like we have all worked together for a long time!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Microbots to do Moonbots

A subset of the Microbots team is planning to do the Moonbots challenge.Right now, Tad, Zach, and Gala are signing up to build a robot to explore the moon's surface. This challenge is very similar to FLL.

We know that there is at least one other team from North Carolina. It should be fun to complete with them. Over the next couple of days, we will post our progress as we sign up for this marvelous challenge.

Tad (below) has begun to design the robot and all indications are that it will run on the rough surface that we will need to run on. There are no autonomous programs yet but using a bluetooth controller, we layed out a basic course for the robot. It can easier make its way through the obstacles.

Good luck to our fellow teams and we can't wait to compete with you (virtually) in stage 2 if we are invited.