, Newburyport, MA

December 11, 2012

Local Lego teams move on to championship

By Jennifer Solis

---- — WEST NEWBURY — The two First Lego League teams from West Newbury will be competing at the state championship later this month.

The Middle School team, The Sachems, and the Page Elementary School team, known as Robostorm, were two of the 11 teams that came out on top at a qualifying tournament held at Worcester Polytechnical Institute on Dec. 1.

There were seven qualifying tournaments held throughout the state with approximately 328 FLL Total Teams participating. Ninety-one qualifying teams will compete for the state title at WPI on Dec. 15.

At the end of the qualifying tournament The Sachems had earned the Teamwork Award. They ranked third in the Robot Competition before the elimination round.

Robostorm made it to the quarter-finals of the Robot Competition and ranked sixth before the elimination round. The boys calling the project they are presenting at the state tournament “RoboNautica 12” and are “really excited to be going,” said Robostorm coach Sue Hersey.

Held internationally, First Lego League is a robotics program for 9- to 16-year-olds designed to get them excited about science and technology. Teams of up to 10 children work on programming an autonomous robot using the Lego® Mindstorms® robot set to score points on a thematic playing surface. They also research and develop an innovative solution to a problem as part of their annual challenge.

Coach Bill Bachrach describes The Sachems’ innovative solution as “a conceptual design for a Memory Improvement Mobile Application for seniors.” The application allows for seniors to participate in daily games to exercise their brains. Responses are captured and analyzed to provide the participants with helpful feedback.

Robostorm developed the system requirements for a touch screen application to assist seniors in managing their medication and nutrition and improving their levels of social interaction. In November the team presented their solution to Elder Services of Merrimack Valley in Lawrence along with a check for $341.25 that they had raised though a bake sale at the West Newbury Foodmart.

Over 20,000 FLL teams exist in over 70 countries world-wide.