On Saturday, December 15, 2012 the West Manor Robotics Team competed in the First Lego League 2012 Senior Challenge Qualifier. Every year over 200,000 students worldwide, between the ages of 9 to 14 participate in a three part challenge to develop a unique solution to a real problem and score points by programming an autonomous robot using the LEGO MINDSTORMS robot set to complete missions on a 4’x8′ playing field, while being guided by the FLL Core Values. These three elements – the Robot Game, Project, and FLL Core Values – make up the yearly Challenge.
Over 35 million Americans are age 65 or older. The FLL 2012 Challenge topic is about keeping senior citizens Engaged, Independent, and Connected. The West Manor Robotics Team put an announcement in the Weekly Wolf asking for grandparents and volunteers 60 years and older to participate in a survey to gather information on problems they face as a result of getting older. The top three issues identified by the 12 participants were:
- Completing household chores / errands
As a result of the information collected from the survey and other research, the Wolf Pack Team’s unique solution was to develop a Driverless – Global Positioning Transportation System (GPTS) Vehicle to assist senior citizens and others with mobility problems in completing their neighborhood errands.
The GPTS Vehicle prototype utilizes the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robot Set and sensors to recognize and respond to traffic conditions, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles while transporting senior citizens along neighborhood streets. After notifying the registered guardian or responsible adults, the GPTS vehicle could transport one to six senior citizens to any of a list of programmed destinations. It is projected that the GPTS Vehicle will reduce traffic accidents caused by elderly drivers and increase safety for all while helping seniors to remain independent and engaged. The West Manor Robotics Team was commended for outstanding presentation during their first competition.