Engineering marvels

By Staff
Thomas Tingle
Record Managing Editor
Could sensors and speed bumps built into the roads of Madison encourage residents to slow down and stop speeding?
Students at Heritage Elementary School think they've got an answer to what's considered one of the biggest problems facing Madison today. For their efforts, the Heritage Elementary School Robotics Team – named "The Flamebots", brought home a third place trophy for Research Presentation at the recent First Lego League Robotics Tournament held at Tennessee Tech.
This year's research challenge was to choose a major world city or your own city to examine in regards to robotics technology. The Flamebots chose their hometown of Madison.
According to Coach Laurel Shockley, the team first researched the history of Madison. Next, they found out how robotics are currently used in Madison. Then they surveyed teachers in the school and sent out surveys to Mayor Jan Wells, members of the city council, Madison Fire Chief Ralph Cobb, Madison Police Chief Dan Busken, school board members and other city officials to find out what people thought was the largest problem in Madison.
According to the information gathered, speeding and traffic violations are considered one of the biggest problems facing Madison today.
A solution to that problem – The Flamebots created "The Decreaser."
The Decreaser is a sensor built into the road that detects the speed of a car that passes over it. If it is determined that the car is speeding as it passes over the sensor, a sound is triggered to let the driver know that he or she must slow down.
"The sensor also signals a speed bump to rise out of the pavement 50 yards ahead to slow the motorist down," Shockley said. "It's a neat idea and very creative."
The Heritage team was ranked eighth overall at the tournament. Members of The Flamebots are Andy Beasley, Mitchell Brown, Colin Cantrell, Joshua Coats, Matthew Dube, Sean Gamble, Chandler Reynolds, Eric Slagle, Ross Spears and Samantha Woelke. Richard Spears also coaches the team.

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