Students head to robotics tournament

| 23/01/2019
CNS Local Life

Cayman Prep students from the two robotics teams (L-R) Kathryn Corkish, Joshua Williams, Thomas Penner and Matthew Bodden

(CNS Local Life): Cayman Prep and High School (CPHS) will be sending two teams of students to the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) 2018-19 competition being held in Tampa, Florida, 24 January. They will be taking part in an FLL qualifying tournament, in which the young people will have to give presentations, do a time trial with their robot to achieve as many points as possible and show their core values.

If successful, the team will advance to the next round of competition, explained a CPHS press release. The two teams attending the FLL 2018-19 competition are the Cyber Rays – Nathan Alston, Liam Benson, Adithya Kiran Binoy, Matthew Bodden, Alexander Dailey, Cormac Finnegan, Brandon Simmonds and Joshua Williams with coach Michael Harrington and assistant coach Allison Smith; and the Techno Turtles – Kathryn Corkish, Louis Day, Alex Gaze, Nathaniel Grieff, Nicholas Hydes, Janani Kumar, Katherine Kumar, Lily McGrath, Thomas Penner, Frederick Robson and Jonny Robson with coach Mark Leary, assistant coach Smith and historian Lily McGrath.

The organisers describe FLL as “an international robot and research programme that supports children and youngsters between 9 to 16 years in order to introduce them to science and technology in a sporty atmosphere”.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League competition has three main parts to it, said CPHS in the release, the project, robot game and core values.

“In the project, the team must identify a real-world problem and create an innovative solution relating to the theme,” CPHS said. This year’s theme is “Into Orbit”. In the robot game, the students must programme the robots to do “space missions” on the table. Finally, the students must learn the six core values: discovery, innovation, impact, inclusion, teamwork and fun.

In their projects, both of the school’s teams tackle the problem of loss of muscle mass for astronauts in space. The Cyber Rays have created different exercises to combat the deterioration of muscles as well as suggested implanting a small device, a “NanoDoc”, into the astronauts before they travel to space, which would automatically administer a chemical muscle relaxer once a day or as needed to the astronauts. This will relax the astronauts’ overworked muscles and help them to sleep better in their small quarters so that they can wake up refreshed, CPHS said.

The Techno Turtles propose injecting stem cells into the astronaut’s muscles in a solution of plasma taken from blood donors. The stem cells would bond instantly with the muscle cells, taking about six to eight weeks to regrow, the team said. The procedure can be done before and during the astronauts’ space travel depending on the length of the voyage.

The robot game is the main way to score points in the competition which are awarded depending on the challenges that the robots complete during the time trial/table runs. The design is also judged with points for the innovation and reliability of the design, both for the robot and the attachments used in the various missions.

The school has been running a Robotics Club for almost 10 years. At club meetings, the students are asked to complete certain tasks to compete in the FLL competition. These tasks include building a robot and programming it to complete challenges, choosing and solve a problem that hasn’t already been solved and explaining how to achieve the core values.

CPHS explained in the release the importance of these values, describing them as “one of the most important aspects of the competition because it shows that the whole team have worked together throughout the FLL season and not just at the competitions”, adding “The core values are what makes the team a team, these include basic actions such as teamwork, friendship and cooperation.”

For more information about the robotics teams go to their website

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Category: Schools, Technology

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