Dear readers, did you enjoy your weekend? Get some sunshine? Thaw out a bit if you’ve been living the Land of the Polar Vortex, otherwise known as New England?
On Saturday, I was an event supervisor for a middle school robot competition (the Robo-Cross event in Science Olympiad). A few dozen middle school students designed robots that can pick up ping-pong balls, Lego blocks, AA batteries, and a tennis ball. The students get extra points for putting the objects into a milk jug (double points if the jug is on its side; triple points if the milk jug is upright).
It was really cool to see all of the different designs. One team had a robot that picked up the milk jug, attached it to the back of the robot, and shoveled items into it. Another team put duct tape on paddles that picked up the items and then dropped them (with the paddles) into the milk jug. Other teams used modified robot kits (usually Mindstorms or Vex).
The only downside was a team of students who fought over who got to drive the robot during the competition. I brought out a quarter and my Judge voice and told them to flip for it. Incredibly, it worked and they accepted the outcome of the coin toss.