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DMS team places seventh

By Staff
The National First Lego League Robotics Tournament was held in Houston, Texas, April 11-12.  
Discovery Middle School team 956, Teens at Work, competed with 24 other state champions from across the nation, including one team from Alaska. 
Teens at Work qualified to enter the tournament by receiving the Director's Award at the Tennessee State tournament last December. 
Judging at the National Event included four equally weighted areas: Robot performance, Team Research Presentation, Teamwork and Robot Design.
This year's challenge, City Sights, involved designing, building and operating an autonomous Legos robot to perform several tasks related to city planning, including bridge repair, toxic waste disposal, building material delivery, clean air production, and food harvest and delivery.  
Teens at Work finished seventh in Robot Performance among the top 25 teams representing over 3,000 teams participating in the program nationwide.
In addition to robot performance, each team selected a problem facing city planners and presented a robotic solution to a panel of judges. 
Teens at Work chose Bridge Maintenance as their topic and presented Robofly as one possible solution. 
Robofly is a dime sized microflyer robot currently under development at the University of California, Berkeley, that incorporates the lessons learned from studying insect flight, namely the fruit fly, into small microflyers capable of performing a variety of inspection tasks.
Robot Design judging included a technical interview with the team members. 
Team members discussed: the design of their robot, from simple gears ratios to the complex multi-bar arm mechanism in their design; the team strategy, including any limitations imposed by their design and any unique, out of the box, approaches the team had developed to complete the missions; and robot programming, including software "tricks" used to obtain maximum use of sensors and any unique programming features.  Based on these criteria, Teens at Work received a third place trophy for Robot Design.
Team members are Mark Acker, DeAnna Gigandet, Matt Holt, Anthony Lundquist, Megan O'Leary, Karthik Sola, Tommy Stephens, and Daniel Stone. Coaches are James Holt and Bernard Acker. School Sponsor is Robin Dauma

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