South Lakes FLL Regional Competition

Last weekend we helped out at the South Lakes Reston Regional FLL Tournament! It was a blast, and we were able to meet so many new faces! FLL is truly for all ages, and we were pleasantly surprised to see how many people turned up and showed their support in so many ways. The dedication and thought put into this tournament was tremendous, and it was a privilege to help out and be a part of it.

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Several of our team members were Core Values and Research judges, where they critiqued young minds about their innovative solutions to worldly issues. Some of us were even directly engaged in the competition itself as referees, timekeepers, and scorekeepers. Teams competed against each other, one-on-one to score the most points out of their autonomous Lego robots. It was a fun and educational experience for us all, and it gave us another event to look forward to next year!

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Hutchison Science Nite!

Last night our team took a trip to Hutchison Elementary School and showed kids all that STEM can offer! Partnering with the talented NovaLabs folks, the kids loved all that we had to offer, including our team robot, our square bots, an Oculus Rift, and several drones of different miniature sizes! We even reunited some previous Hutchison students with their old teachers. We look forward to participating next year and advancing our outreach program even further! See you there!

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Epsilon Delta Takes DC and Helps Local FLL Teams

This past Saturday, 116 payed a visit to the other Air and Space museum for the Smithsonian’s Innovation Festival in Washington DC.  Along with team 2402, we represented FIRST at the festival for inventions and patents with our Squarebots and enthusiasm.

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The next day we helped out our local FLL teams by supporting a mock tournament at Nova Labs where we judged the kids’ projects, robots, and core values and also kept score for the tournament.  We were all really impressed with their attention to detail, and the accomplishments of the teams.

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We wish all the Nova Labs teams good luck on their upcoming competitions!

Air and Scare 2014

Today at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museum is the annual Air and Scare event! We’re here with our FTC team, and FRC teams ILITE and Chantilly robotics showing off our robots and here for some Halloween and science fun. Come in costume with your family for candy, and a good time. See you there!

For more info on Air and Scare visit this site:

www.airandspace.si.edu/events/air-and-scare/

Update:

Air and Scare was a huge success! We all had a great time in our Halloween costumes and were a huge hit with the kids who loved the squarebots, the Angry Nerd, and the hexbugs we had set up.

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Some of the Air and Scare visitors playing catch with the Angry Nerd.

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We also set up our squarebots mats for the visitors to try out.

It was very hectic with the over 31,000 at the event, many of which stopped by to try out our robots, so many that the Angry Nerd’s catapult actually broke and we had to improvise a new way to keep it active. We let kids role the ball into our intake system and then have the robot pass it back to them as a backup, and found that people enjoyed doing that as well.

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After the robot’s catapult broke we had kids pass the ball back and forth with the robot

Overall we had a great time and can’t wait to do it all again next week when we visit the other Air and Space museum in DC for the Innovation Festival (more info here ).. but first we have a robot to fix!

Stay tuned for more updates about next week.

 

Herndon Homecoming Parade

We are excited to announce that Team 116 Epsilon Delta will be marching in the annual Herndon Homecoming Parade! Rain or shine, you’ll be seeing our light blue team shirts with Angry Nerds on them. We will also be demonstrating our robot, which can shoot a large ball to great distances. We hope to see you all there, and have a great homecoming!

Update:

Light rain it was, but that didn’t stop us.  A quick run to the team trailer to grab the canopy and the wet electronics problem was mitigated.

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We had to veer left and right a bit to avoid the cobblestones, but it was a fairly smooth ride all in all.

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Kids and adults alike really loved the robot. Who doesn’t love seeing things catapulted into the air?

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We even got a chance to rest once in a while, but this parade moved faster than most, probably because of the light drizzle.

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We got lots of great feedback from people along the route that our canopy made it really easy to spot us coming. It might just become a regular fixture in future Herndon Homecoming parades.

Team 116 Competes at IROC

Yesterday Epsilon Delta attended  Team 1885 ILITE Robotics’ IROC Offseason Competition.  We had a blast taking our 2014 season robot for a final spin, and also got to share the new controls system with even more local teams.

It was a day of high energy not just in competition, but in other activities like launching Sky Robots.

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In the competition however, we had lots of members who wanted the opportunity to drive the robot and see what it’s like behind the glass, so those who wanted to, got to take a turn. Many of the students really impressed us with their skill on the field.  At the end of qualifiers we were teamed in the sixth seeded alliance with Team 2537, RAID Robotics.

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Paired up with 2537, we won against the third, and second seeded alliances winning us a place in the finals! Tension ran high as both alliances had each won a round, but unfortunately we lost the deciding match.

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Although we didn’t win, we still got to bring home hardware, and had loads of fun competing once more with the Angry Nerd. Thank you to 2537, 1885, and all the other teams participating for an amazing time. See you next year!

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Rookie FLL Team Workshop in Washington, DC

Team 116 is all about helping others, especially new FIRST teams. This week, we’ll be volunteering at another FLL team workshop. This will include basic Lego Mindstorm programming, brainstorming for robot designs, and a Q/A about this year’s world class challenge! The event will be located at YMCA Capital View, 2118 Ridgecrest Ct Washington, DC, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.

Update:

This event ended up being really fun, and more than enough doughnuts were consumed.

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In working with a couple parents and students, there is a high probability of a new FLL team being created in the Alexandria area, and we hope they contact Team 116 for any assistance they might require.

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Busy Weekend for Outreach

Team 116 has been hard at work this past weekend getting the word out about our team and FIRST.

We started the weekend off strong on Friday by attending an FLL coach workshop at Leidos, where we learned the in’s and out’s of the new FLL game while picking up tips and tricks on helping mentor Lego League Students.

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Saturday, we made our way down to the US Patent Office in Alexandria to teach and work with new FLL team members and coaches to show them the game, how it works, and trained them to use LabView to program their Lego Mindstorm Robots at the FLL Meet the Experts Expo.

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And last but not least, Team 116 visited the Mini Maker Faire in Silver Spring to demonstrate the beta Controls Hardware System to FRC teams in the area as well as tell members of the community about FIRST and how to get involved.

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Overall it was a very busy but rewarding weekend! We got to meet lots of people in our area, get the message out about how great robotics and FIRST are, and above all, we had fun while doing it.

Tomorrow we start to focus on training new students for our upcoming season in January at our annual Uncle Milo meeting. The 2014-2015 is well underway, and we can’t wait to see what else may come our way this year!

Team 116 Starts 2014 Strong: Interest Meeting, FLL DC Expo and Maker Fair

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The kids of Team 116 hit the ground running this school year.

This past Tuesday, we welcomed new students at our interest meeting. Subgroup captains gave brief, enticing presentations about each group’s functions and what students can expect to learn.

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Students were excited to see the main star of the evening in action: Pizza! Oh, and the robot was present and fully-functioning, too.

For this coming weekend, the team is gearing up for the FIRST Lego League DC Expo and Maker Fair. Tonight, we started preparing to train children using Lego Mindstorms over at NovaLabs by learning how to use the LabView software program, a kid friendly software that uses draggable building blocks to put together code. While simple in how it works, users have to think creatively to make complex instructions for the robot.

This First Lego League DC Expo will be on Saturday, from 9:30-3:00 in Alexandria at the U.S. Patent Trade Office. Feel free to stop by and learn more about what it means to be on an FLL Team. Coaches, you’re welcome to join as well! Booz-Allen Hamilton will be scheduling a presentation about coaching new or old teams.

Maker Faire will take place on Sunday from 12–5 p.m. in Silver Springs, MD. It’ll be a blast, with tons of interesting activities to do, such as awesome arts and crafts, riding a hovercraft, and lots and lots and lots of robot demos!

This weekend will be a busy one for Epsilon Delta—come visit us at our upcoming outreach events!

 

From small changes come big differences [εΔ].