The Evolution of the Scorpacuda

2006 Season

Our team lost one member, but grew by two! For the 2006 NanoQuest Competition, the team did a LOT of research.  In addition to developing and selling a game "NanoMania," the team studied many nanotechnology applications and how matter behaves at nanoscales.  Some of the technology was for infrastructure - to find better ways to build bridges, tunnels, and highway networks.  Some was for improve lifestyles - more comfortable clothing, stronger ropes for rock climbing, and other new sports equipment. Some was for alternative energy.  But the final research project focussed simply on a nanotech vaccination for AIDS.  The team researched the AIDS virus and proposed a solution involving functionalizing carbon nanotubes with a DNA-hyprid to attract, trap, and destroy the AIDS virus.

This year, the team had the goal of using the NXT to solve every single mission on the board during the competition 2.5 minute period.  They won 1st place for their research project at the Hollis/Brookline Regional Competition. The robot did extremely well, and they placed higher at the state competition, but did not win a trophy this year.

2005 Season

The next year, the team lost one member and gained two. The team attempted to solve, and had a solution for each mission on the field.  Their robot performed significantly better than last year.  They took on the arduous task of learning Robolab.  With Robolab they were able to accomplish even more programming goals.  The submarine was the hardest challenge, but a 8/10 solution was found!  We were amazed at how much the robot improved in just one year.  It had many new appendages and was able to solve at least part of every mission; however, it didn't solve every mission in the 2.5 minute time of a competition.

Their research objectives were many-fold.  The presented as a team of scientists convening to discuss their current research. One scientist had an innovative solution for picking up oil spills.  Three scientists had developed two different ways to reduce fertilizer usage, and presented experimental evidence that excess nitrogren in the oceans leads to dead zones.  One scientist developed an entire system for managing the trajectories of migrating whales to avoid mass beachings or injuries from migrating through or feeding in shipping lanes.  The last scientist wrote to local grocery stores about labeling fish products about the time and location of fish harvests so that we all can become better consumers and not make our consumption of fish lead to overfishing.  Their research involved direct experimentation, literature reviews, watching many videos about oceanography, visiting the New England Acquarium, touring places like the Maine Maritime Academy, and attending conferences at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.  For public awareness, they made a flyer about dead zones, wrote and performed an original song about hypoxic water, and wrote a story.

At the Hollis/Brookline Regional Competition, the robot placed for their research project.  This qualified them for the state competition.  At the state competition, the team won the 3rd Place Technical Robot Design trophy.  They finished 17th at the tables and were quite pleased and excited!  Their 2nd round score was a very competitive 250.

2004 Season


The 2004 No Limits Competition was the beginning of Team Scorpacuda when 5 Fourth Grade Classmates decided to form a new Lego Robotics Team.  The challenge was to find a place in their local community and improve the accessibility.  The team quickly focussed on the overloaded Brookline Public Library.  Their solution, the "Pick-and-Give" robot had two parts.  One part of the system provided interactive search and book or media selection that was accessible to blind, hearing impaired, and otherwise physically impaired people.  The second part of the system was a robotic arm on a track that searched for the media or book, and delivered it to the library patron. 

They used the RIS software and RCX 1.0 brick.  The team had a great deal of difficulty making a robot that went straight, turned consistently, and went fast.  The final design was slow, but robust. The robot was based on a dual differential design. One motor turned the robot right or left.  The other motor made the robot go forward and backward.  A touch sensor was used as a rotation counter.  Each motor then had a rotation counter for positional accuracy.  But that alone was not enough.  A light sensor at the bottom of the robot did some line detection work on the field mat.  Another light sensor allowed them detect and push the bus stop mission.  The team spent most of their time solving the basketball mission.  As a result, they were unable to complete several missions including delivering food to table and climbing stairs.

At the Merrimack Mindstorm Madness Regional Competition on November 20, 2004, the team was surprised to win an award for Programming Robot Design, which secured them a position at the State Competition. Although the robot was eliminated in early rounds, the Team wond the 2nd Place Award for Innovative Design.  Bringing home a Lego trophy motivated the team to work diligently the next year.



Coming soon... links to download past robot designs


The Scorpacudas are dedicated to outreach to other teams and schools. Please contact us if you would like our team to visit and encourage your students to start a Lego Robotics team, or if you are interested in our innovative research and would like to learn more.