For the Cumberland Times-News
ACCIDENT — Garrett County’s NeXT GEN FIRST LEGO League team is headed to state competition after earning the top score in the Senior Solutions challenge held recently at Carroll County Community College.
The team, which includes students from Southern and Northern middle schools, scored 391 points and earned the first-place Robot Performance Trophy. NeXT GEN was also awarded the FLL Champion’s Award Trophy.
The Maryland State FLL Tournament is scheduled Jan. 19 at University of Maryland Baltimore County.
The team’s first judging session was core values. Students answer questions about how they work together as a team, manage their time and solve challenging obstacles. Judges also watch the teams all day long looking for examples of gracious professionalism and displays of unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition.
Next, the team presented its “Gramma Jamma” research to the judges. The team has visited with local professionals and talked with senior citizens to find problems that they have on a daily basis. The team then developed an innovative gripper that allows seniors with hand tremors or poor vision to pick up small objects. The Gramma Jamma’s jamming principle on its robotic hand is one used by Cornell University. The team had 10 minutes to explain three months of research. The judges were impressed with the team’s innovative idea and awarded NeXT GEN the second-place research trophy.
The final session was technical judging. Team members explained how their robots and missions work and why they built their attachments to the robot and programmed the robot the way they did.
The teams all had three opportunities on the table to show what their robot could do in two minutes and 30 seconds.
Other Garrett County FLL teams will participate in a Maryland FLL Qualifier Tournament on Dec. 15 at Northern High School.