Dublin Villager

Robotics teams tackle Nature's Fury challenge

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Dublin students saw solutions to natural disasters in an amphibious fire truck, earthquake survival kit and other inventions.

About 15 Dublin robotics teams last week showcased their project for the 2014 FIRST Lego League challenge: Nature's Fury.

Dublin's 26 robotics teams will also construct a robot to go through several challenges at competitions, but Coach Paul Glaubitz said he wanted to give teams a chance to show off the other part of the robotics challenge.

"We wanted to focus on the projects for this," Glaubitz said.

For the project, teams must identify a community that could experience a natural disaster and identify a problem that happens when a natural disaster occurs.

Then teams must create an innovative solution to help people prepare, stay safe or rebuild after a natural disaster.

For their project, Mindstorm Megabytes focused on a town in Bangladesh that deals with flooding.

The mo-mo dike they created is made of tires and compacted earth, two items readily available in the country that fronts the Bay of Bengal.

The dike will help set property lines, a frequent problem after all structures are washed away.

A windmill was also included in the design to help pump water out of the diked area to reduce flooding, team members said.

Robot Rights also took to the water for their Nature's Fury project, creating lifejackets out of plastic bottles and duct tape.

The team members made different designs and tested them at the Dublin Community Recreation Center pool to find the best design.

"I had the best design because when we were at the rec center my lifejacket was seven inches out of the water," Indian Run Elementary School fourth-grader Harshini Somisetty said.

"We tested different designs ... . We were surprised that between normal lifejackets and my design, mine was better than regular lifejackets."

The team of fourth-graders also chose their design based on plastic bottles available in India after seeing floods in the area.

Team Moderately Confused focused on the damage water does to vehicles during flooding for their project.

"The hood release on the car will dissolve if water touches it," Sells eighth-grader Nathan Sears explained. "Water can damage a car and the idea is this will notify insurance or a person if it's been damaged."

The team talked to a flood specialist at the Washington Township Fire Department for feedback on the idea.

"He said he owned a car that was subject to flood damage and that would have been useful," Sears said.

Team Celtic Storm from Grizzell Middle School opted for fire prevention and notification with their fire detection senor.

After the team found fire sensors that could see in a 10-mile radius, seventh-grader Dan Keener said they looked at building towers for the sensors.

"Then we said 'Why not use a tree as a tower?' " he said.

A steel or iron tower that could be placed on the top of trees and hold the sensor was fashioned by the team.

Teams will take both their projects and a robots that they've been working on since August to competitions starting this month.