Young Roboticists Took an Excursion to Boston Area

On June 24, 2014, Livingston Robotics Club (LRC) organized a post-expo activity in Boston area as a follow up to the LRC Jr.FLL Expo  in Livingston which took place back in May.

This excursion was led by Spongebots, a FIRST LEGO League team of LRC. The participants were from The Electrons and Robotic Ninjas, Jr. FIRST LEGO League teams of LRC, and joined by Smartbots and Ultimate Tsunami, participating teams in the LRC Jr.FLL Expo.

The participants were 6-9 year olds who worked on science projects related natural disasters and built LEGO models with mechanical or robotic parts to demonstrate their findings as part of the Junior LEGO League  “Disaster Blaster” challenge.

In this excursion, the children were introduced to the actual workplaces to get hands on experiences on what happen before, during and after a natural disaster strikes in order to help them to connect their science projects to real-life examples.

The June 24th trip started in Bedford, Massachusetts at the headquarters of iRobot. The guide brought children to the “Cool Stuff” room to discuss about the company history and revolution of their robots including the designs and engineering behind each of their past products which include the robots that can be deployed in disaster situations. Children learned about the PackBot which is the same model that was used to enter the Fukushima nuclear power plan after the secondary industrial disaster as a direct result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Children also had a chance to operate the FirstLook robot which can be used by authorities in a rescue mission after a natural disaster.

Not only the robots that are related to the natural disasters are shown, the group also discussed about the design elements of the company’s best known product, Roomba, the vacuum cleaning robot.

“I think the iRobot tour was awesome,” said Noah Savoie, one of the participants, “I want a Roomba!”

The group then continued on to Weston, Massachusetts to visit the headquarters of New England Seismic Network to learn more about earthquakes. Children were given a tour of the vaults that contain the seismometers that measure the ground movement and the details of how they work. They also listen to the audio interpretation of the actual vibrations generated during the 2011 earthquake and the aftershocks in Japan. Finally, the children observed different types of seismographs that record the ground motion at that station in real-time.



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