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First Lego League in Virginia and DC


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First Lego League Discussion <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 13 Dec 2008 02:17:40 -0500
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Michael Blanpied <[log in to unmask]>
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I really liked this year's table in that it offered a very broad 
"dynamic range" of mission difficulties. There were some 
pretty-darned-easy missions (storm, blue/gray person, nearest carbon 
ball) that were within reach of novice roboticists who were just 
learning to drive, ranging all the way up to tough missions (raising 
the house, finding agreement, returning the ice core, moving and 
verticalizing the drilling machine) that caused serious 
head-scratching to even the most experienced teams. That the top 
scores at VA/DC State was 330 speaks to the challenge of completing 
that broad range of broadly distributed missions in 150 seconds. Some 
teams came close to "running the table," but I didn't hear of a 
single team who went to tournament with a practiced plan to earn 400 

Having spent three or four months biting my tongue as a coach--doing 
my best to guide and inspire rather than suggest solutions, and now 
that we're past the States, I'd be curious to hear what sorts of 
strategies were used for those harder missions. Marie shared Vector 
67's ingenious devices for the house and agreement mission, and a 
simple but clever grab-n-drag method for towing the drill back to 

Our team, the BLT, combined those three missions into one:  A 
flap-like panel attached to a front-mounted motor was raised and 
lowered as the robot drove repeatedly past the arrows, turning them 
one click on each pass; the number of passes was entered by tapping a 
touch sensor before leaving Base. Driving eastward toward the drill 
machine, a flexible loop jutting from the right side of the robot 
hooked the red lever, raising the house before slipping free. Gaps in 
the flap attachment allowed it to skewer and lift the drill machine 
for carrying back to Base. Like Vector 67, BLT placed objects bound 
for the research area on top of a ramp; the robot drove the ramp to 
the ice cliff, then pushed the objects, and itself, up and off the 

What other strategies were invented?

Mike Blanpied
Reston, VA
2006 #4809 Nano People
2007 #1666 Power Bunnies
2008 #5013 BLT--Brilliant LEGO Team

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