The Dublin robotics team that won money to patent an invention for the 2011-12 competition is back at work for a new year of challenges.
Moderately Confused, the First LEGO Robotics League team based at Sells Middle School, is in what could be considered a rebuilding year, as more than half of the team moved onto high school last year.
But that doesn't mean the eight-member team is slacking.
Senior Solutions is the theme of this year's challenge, which means each team needs to come up with an invention "that would assist the elderly," said Nathan Sears, a seventh-grader.
The team funneled through several ideas before settling on a watch that would automatically alert medics in case of a fall.
"We found an app that monitors iPads. It's an accelerometer," said Peter Glaubitz, a seventh-grader.
"We need to find out whether it can tell the difference between a fall and normal actions."
The team is thinking about solutions for potential problems with the software, though.
"We're thinking about having it if the senior hasn't fallen maybe they have 20 seconds to tap a button and say they're all right," said Matt Gerberick.
If the watch is activated, the team plans to alert the user with flashing lights or sounds, said eighth-grader Edwin Glaubitz.
Cost and presentation also come into consideration.
"We need to make it comfortable and easy to wear like a normal watch," Sears said.
"We researched watches with capabilities and sensors we need and it's in the $50 to $100 range," Edwin Glaubitz said.
"The watch we're looking at is really expensive," sixth grader Xander Simonette said. "Maybe we can get a one-time price for seniors with financial insecurity."
Once the invention is streamlined, the team plans to present it to an acquaintance in the non-medical senior support field, coach Paul Glaubitz said.
The team also has to construct and program a robot to complete challenges worth a total of 700 points in two and a half minutes.
It's impossible to get a perfect score and coach Tom Sears said this year's challenges focus on doing several missions at once. To complete missions, the students must use light and color sensors, as well as other tools to program the robot.
For one mission, students must program the robot to pick an orange medicine bottle from four green bottle and return to base with the orange bottle without disturbing the others.
"The missions aren't hard, but the board is difficult to maneuver," Nathan Sears said.
Other team members include Seth de San Jose, Alan Ding and Varun Madan. Jennifer Glaubitz also coaches the team.
The team plans to attend its first competition Dec. 15 at Columbus State. If the team does well, it can move onto the district contest.