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February 27, 2012 - 10:04am
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, GCC, schools, lego league, robotics, tech wars.

The following is a press release from Chantal Zambito:

Calling all NXT/RCX Robotic Clubs, Groups, Teams, and Enthusiasts!

If you are between the ages of nine and 14, you are invited to Genesee Community College, in Batavia, to participate in a friendly maze race. Whether you are a novice or an experienced user of the NXT/RCX Robotic software, this is for you.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 15, in conjunction with Tech Wars. Registration will begin at 9 a.m., with the events lasting from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

The teams will create a catapult to a launch marshmallows from a designated point. The three teams with the furthest launch will receive a prize, and all teams will receive a certificate of participation. The best distance will be taken from each group’s three launches.

Come and look at the 2011 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Missions, projects, and presentations from local teams. Information on how to get a Robotics Club started at your school or in your community will be available at the event.

If you are interested, the registration deadline is Feb. 18.

For a map of the launch pad, registration form, or more information about the NXT Challenge at GCC, contact Chantal Zambito at [email protected]. For more information about Tech Wars go to http://www.techwarsgcc.org.

March 19, 2011 - 5:52pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in GCC, elba, alexander, byron-bergen, lego league, tech wars.

Howard and I both had a chance to stop over at Genesee Community College for Tech Wars 2011 on Thursday. Howard took some photos, I took some video.

Many thanks to the NXT Lego team members and their coaches for sharing their work with The Batavian.

Here is the video (with a scenic view of the space behind the college to close it out):

For previous coverage, see:

Float in Elba Onion Festival parade gives a 'FIRST' look at LEGO League

Elba students build robots one Lego at a time  

Elba's FIRST Lego League invites robot fans to a maze race at GCC

Photos by Howard Owens

February 7, 2011 - 8:36pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, GCC, lego league, tech wars.

The following is a press release from Chantal Zambito, a resident of Elba and co-coach of Elba's FIRST Lego League (see Aug. 5 article):

Calling all NXT/RCX Robotic Clubs, Groups, Teams, and Enthusiasts!

If you are between the ages of 9 and 14, you are invited to come to Genesee Community College in Batavia to participate in a friendly maze race. Whether you are a novice or an experienced user of the NXT/RCX Robotic software, this is for you.

The event will take place on Thursday, March 17, 2011 in conjunction with Tech Wars. Registration will begin at 8:45 a.m. with the events from 9:30 – 12:30.

You may decide which level you would like to compete at, novice or advanced. The three teams with the fastest times making it in and out of a maze will receive a ribbon and certificate. The best time will be taken from the group’s three trips through the maze.

Novice groups will know the route of the maze prior to the competition. The advanced teams will navigate a route chosen at random. All routes will be on an 8’ X 4’ table.

A free style, noncompetitive exhibition will also be available for teams who would like to show off a creative robot.

Information on how to get a Robotics Club started at your school or in your community will be available at the event as well. Come and look at the 2010 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Challenge Missions, projects and presentations from local teams.

For a map of the maze, registration form, or more information about the NXT Challenge at GCC contact Chantal Zambito at [email protected]. For more information about Tech Wars go to www.techwarsgcc.org.

November 24, 2010 - 5:57pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in Announcements, elba, legos, lego league.

Here's a news release submitted by Elba resident Chantal Zambito, co-coach of Elba's FIRST Lego team; please see the Aug. 5 article:

On Saturday, Nov. 20 the NXT Lancers Team from Elba competed in the Finger Lakes Regional Foundation for the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) Qualifier Tournament.

It took place at Churchville-Chili High School.

Five students made up the Lancers' team: Christian Gerould, Garrett Sinemus, Evan Hare, Colin Hunt and Johnny Zambito.

They used LEGO kits to build robots programmed to perform specific tasks.

Over the course of eight weeks, they designed, researched, built, programmed, tested and refined a fully autonomous robot capable of completing various missions.

This year’s theme, "Body Forward Challenge," explored the cutting-edge world of biomedical engineering.

Participants learned about innovative ways this science is used to repair injuries, overcome genetic predispositions, and maximize the body’s potential -- with the goal of helping people lead healthier, happier lives.

The NXT Lancers designed a hockey helmet with a visual warning, airbag, and damping system to help a player avoid a concussion if they were body checked during a game.

The boys performed a newscast skit using themselves as "emergency medical technicians" and expert "doctors" to present their invention to a panel of judges. They were limited to five minutes.

The team was then asked questions about their project for another five minutes. The judges commented, “Great presentation and teamwork. We really like how you researched concussions and included an explanation of them in your skit.”

Next, the robot design judges interviewed the team. They talked about the construction of the robot and its programming. The judges were interested in what the team came up with to solve problems and what they considered to be the best parts of the robot.

The NXT Lancers demonstrated several of the robot's programs during their interview. The technical presentation judge commented: “Sturdy robot, nice consistency with the robot arm and good documentation.”

Then it was on to the robot performance rounds. Each team performed in three rounds, each lasting two-and-a-half minutes.

The team scored a total of 205 points, winning one of the three rounds -- an exceptional accomplishment for their first qualifier event.

In all, there were 21 teams, seven of which will go on to the RIT competition.

Saturday was a nonstop day of preparing and presenting. The team members worked hard and their determination was amazing, according to co-coach Evelyn Hunt.

Next, they will be preparing for an exhibition competition at Genesee Community College on March 17 during the GLOW region Tech Wars.

The Elba team is looking for more members, especially girls. Robotics are not just for boys! (In fact, there were two all-girl teams at the Nov. 20 competition and one of them earned the highest award. Both are going on to the next round.)

August 5, 2010 - 12:17pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in genesee county, elba, Onion Festival, legos, lego league.

Elba resident Chantal Zambito and her family will be parading through Elba this weekend at the Elba Onion Festival. Their vehicle: a LEGO float promoting the town's FIRST LEGO League team.

FIRST ("For Inspiration and Recognition in Science & Technology") LEGO League is an international organization that partners with experts in the fields of science and technology to get kids ages 9 to 14 involved in working with robotics and engineering.

The float will showcase robots made by the kids in Elba's FIRST team, which Zambito coaches along with Evelyn Hunt. These 'bots are connected with very simple tools and can be made to move by being hooked up to laptop computers.

Zambito says her goal is not only to promote Elba's team, but also to encourage other kids to join the leagues and form their own teams -- which can be associated with towns, local organizations, etc.

Zambito has been working closely with Genesee County communities and school districts for this purpose.

"Right now I think there are only three teams in Genesee County," she said. "I'd like to see at least six to eight teams -- that way we'll have enough teams that we can build a Genesee County Region section for the leagues."

At this time, Genesee County teams need to go to Monroe County -- which has 72 teams -- in order to compete.

"I hope to change that," Zambito said.

Zambito has been in talks with technology personnel at GCC, and they are very interested in doing this in conjunction with their Tech Wars program for high schoolers.

Each year, a different challenge is issued to the teams in terms of building their robots. This year's challenge is called "Body Forward" and will have the kids exploring the world of biomedical engineering.

Zambito and her family will be handing out informational brochures as the float passes along the parade. These brochures will include contact information.

The LEGO float will be featured in Friday night's parade -- which starts around 7 p.m. at Oak Orchard Road and lasts until about 8:30. It will also be in Saturday's "Kiddie Parade," which starts at noon on Maple Avenue and lasts about a half-hour.

Photos submitted by Chantal Zambito

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