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ConVal: SMS Lego team competes

  • Connor Stajduhar of Peterborough works on a mechanism to show how robots might be able to spray caves to eradicate the fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats.

  • Connor Stajduhar of Peterborough works on a mechanism to show how robots might be able to spray caves to erradicate the fungus that causes white nose syndrome in bats. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Wyatt Beaulieu, front, of Peterborough and Bryson Boice of Peterborough work on adjusting their robot’s programming. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Owen Armstrong of Dublin checks the robot’s program before a test run.  Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Bryson Boice of Peterborough and Wyatt Beaulieu of Peterborough test out their Lego robot in a practice session. Staff photoS by Ashley Saari



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 6:47PM

Enough ingenuity can solve any problem.

That’s one of the lessons that FIRST robotics teaches. Teams like South Meadow School’s RoBATics are asked to discover a problem – and then find a way to solve it using robotics.

It’s a practical side to a competition that is about learning the basics of programming a Lego robot to perform both basic and complex tasks.

“The coolest part is you get to design your own robot and make it do whatever you want,” explained South Meadow team member Wyatt Beaulieu of Peterborough.

And the robot is not remote-controlled, but moves based on a student program.

The program tells the robot precisely how far it should move, which motors to run to make it turn, or lift its arm.

If it’s all done properly, the robot should be able to complete designated tasks and earn the team points.

“We have no part in controlling them once we press the button,” explained team member Owen Armstrong of Dublin.

The RoBATics are fresh off a regional qualifying round, and about to head to a state competition in Windham on Saturday.

The theme of the competition is “Animal Allies.” The contest involves programming a robot to move around a board, completing some animal-themed tasks – pushing a turnstile of Lego cows far enough that they produce white “milk” Legos, but not far enough that they produce brown “manure” Legos, for example – but teams get equal amount of points for teamwork, robot design and a research project on how robotics can be used to solve a real-world problem involving animals.

The RoBATics, as may be inferred from their name, chose to help bats – specifically in trying to devise a solution for white nose syndrome, a fungal infection that originated in Europe, traveled to North America and is wiping out entire colonies of bats.

There are treatments for the fungus that causes white nose syndrome that can be sprayed in known bat habitats, but it must be sprayed yearly.

The young team’s project involved devising a robot that could spray caves automatically. 

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.