Monday, September 25, 2006

Dirt objects getting caught in the net

I found this on the forum this morning:

"The dirt pieces are Bonus Objects, worth 5 points each in the dirt trap, and 3 points each everywhere else on the table.

If the dirt does not make it into the trap, they are only worth 3 points. Unless they are in the ref's pocket when they are worth 0 points.

Having the dirt get stuck in the net is not a limitation of the model like the release mechanism of the atomic motor. It is fully expected that some dirt will be bounce in wild directions or get stuck in the net. Now is the time for your team to brainstorm a solution to this interesting problem."

Ruling from FLL on Unstainable Fabric Mission

Just had a reply from Scott Evans on the question that came up on Saturday. The question was did we have to bring the dust container to the marked area on the mat before we could dump the materials into it. As we said on Saturday, we don't even have to deliver the container at all if that's part of your strategy. There are points awarded for the dumper being empty, you just won't receive any points for delivering the container. The only way you won't get points for having the dumper empty, is if there's one piece left and the referee takes it because of a touch penalty.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

NXT Software

There is one thing I forgot to mention at the Orientation meeting about the NXT software. It seems to be easier to program than previous versions, but there's one major thing to keep in mind. It requires a minimum 256 megs of RAM to operate! I installed it on a P4 with 256 megs, but when the software is running, it's quite slow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First Meeting

Challenge 2006 - Nano Quest - Orientation meeting

Our first orientation meeting for the 2006 season will be held on Saturday, September 23, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm at O'Donel High School in Mount Pearl. The meeting will be in the Learning Resources (Library) room.

I will ask that we keep this first meeting for coaches/teachers only (no students). We will be including them in the next meeting.

BTW, the meeting is open to teachers in the Eastern District that are interested in Lego Robotics.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FLL Forum Access Code

The FLL Forum is now open and your codes should work. I find it a great place to find answers to common questions, and other concerns that other teams have. You will find, however, that the best place to find out things is by following the American links. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Reminder: Orientation Meeting

Challenge 2006 - Nano Quest - Orientation meeting

Our first orientation meeting for the 2006 season will be held on Saturday, September 23, between 2:00pm and 4:00pm at O'Donel High School in Mount Pearl. We will be discussing this year's challenge and any other issues that teams bring forward. I realize that not everyone will be able to attend this meeting so please let me know if you are planning to attend. For those of you who cannot make it I will email out any details that are important that may have been discussed at the meeting.


Nano Quest: Fairness Bonus

Here is a new twist for this year:

Fairness Bonus

For 20 bonus points, an RCX robot must earn points in any 3 missions, or an NXT robot must earn points in any 6 missions.


Nano Quest: Stain-Resistant Fabric

Stain-Resistant Fabric

Mission: Test some stain-resistant fabric. The robot must deliver the dirt trap to its location mark and completely dump out the tester’s dirt dumper. The dirt trap at its mark is worth 15 points, and the dirt dumper when empty is worth 15 points. The dirt pieces are Bonus Objects, worth 5 points each in the dirt trap, and 3 points each everywhere else on the table. When removing dirt for a Bonus Loss, the referee takes stray pieces first, then pieces from the dumper, and pieces from the trap last.


Nano Quest: Nanotube Strength

Nanotube Strength

Mission: Lift the truck by a thin cable of carbon nanotubes. The robot must move the truck onto the lift frame and activate the lift. The truck completely on the frame is worth 20 points. The truck and frame supported completely and only by the cable is worth an additional 20 points.


Nano Quest: Pizza Molecules


Mission: Transfer molecules from the pizza toward the nose. The robot must get pizza molecules completely off the paper plate for 5 points each, and transferred to the yellow or black areas of the person’s head or neck for an additional 10 points each.


Nano Quest: Smart Medicine

Smart Medicine

Mission: Target medicine to reach only a specific problem spot. The robot must release the Buckyball containing medicine into the person’s arm. The Buckyball is placed anywhere in the red/yellow channel of the arm bone is worth 50 points (even if it hasn’t reached the problem spot).


Nano Quest: Self Assembly


Mission: Start the self-alignment of atoms. The robot must cause the angled blue nanotube segments to align horizontally end to end. This alignment is worth 30 points.


Nano Quest: Molecular Motor

Molecular Motor

Mission: Deliver an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecule to power a molecular motor, causing it to spin and release energy. The robot must deliver 1 of the 2 ATP molecules through the molecular motor’s black frame for 40 points (even if nothing else happens). The second ATP molecule represents a second chance to complete this mission, but points are only given for 1 delivered molecule.


Nano Quest: Atomic Force Microscopy

Atomic Force Microscopy

Mission: Free the probe’s nanotip. The robot must separate the nanotip from the material surface. The nanotip separated from the surface is worth 40 points.


Nano Quest: Atoms

Individual Atom Manipulation

Mission: Move individual atoms accurately. The robot must remove at least 1 white atom from the blue surface without removing any red atoms. Counting atoms left on the surface, a count of fewer than 8 red atoms is worth no points. A count of 8 red atoms and 7 or 6 white atoms is worth 30 points. A count of 8 red atoms and 5 or fewer white atoms is worth 40 points.


Nano Quest: Space Elevator

Space Elevator

Mission: Operate the space elevator. At least one robot must cause the car with the yellow cargo to come down. If this mission is completed, no matter which robot or robots worked on it, both teams get 40 points.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Important Dates this Month

There are a couple important dates to keep in mind this month:

  • September 15 - FLL will officially launch Challenge 2006 - NanoQuest
  • September 29 - FLL Registration closes for Challenge 2006
I expect the mission information will be released on September 15th as well.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

No NanoQuest mission

I checked the FLL web site and could not find any information posted about the missions yet. I expect it will be posted soon so please keep checking.

Registering for FLL

To get started you will need to register online at the FLL web site. When you are going through the registration process you have to pay the following:

FLL Registration Fee: $180.00
Field setup kit 2006 (includes lego parts and mat): $78.00
RCX robotics kit (mindstorm for schools) OR
the new NXT robotics kit: $375.00

* This is in Canadian dollars (the web site will give you American prices) and taxes are not included.
* There is a new robotics kit out called the NXT and will become the standard but I anticipate that most teams will be using the older RCX-based kit.

Once you complete your registration, Spectrum will bill you for everything and ship your order to the shipping address you specified during registration.

If you decide to get involved this year it is very important that you order right away so that you can get started. The deadline for registration is September 29th.

Here is the web site for more info about registering:

This is the registration web site (link is also on info page above):

This is the web site for information about the competition:

Monday, September 04, 2006

NL Robotics Blog

I am hoping to use this blog as a source of information and help to those involved in lego robotics in Newfoundland and Labrador.