The robot team from Briarcliff took top honors at a regional competition….
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY – Seventh-graders at Briarcliff Middle School recently proved they are ahead of the pack in innovation and inspiration by finishing first at FIRST. The organization, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, held its regional qualifying Lego League competition at the Poughkeepsie Day School last month, where a team of five BMS students won the overall event.
Students Sajan Bar, Georgia Burkard, Hunter Burkard, Weston Cooper and Eli Karp comprise the BMS team CG and the Robo Bros., a name adopted from the famous Ringling Bros. circus. The name recognizes female coach/parent Cathy Burkard (represented by the C) and her daughter/team member Georgia (the G), who were the only two females with the team at the time of its inception. The Robo Bros. salutes the remaining male members of the team, along with coach/parent Jay Bar.
Following the theme “Senior Solutions,” the BMS team was tapped with using Legos to design, build and program a robot that could help senior citizens live longer and safer lives. Participants were judged on four categories: robot design, mission competition, research and their ability to demonstrate the core values of the FIRST Lego League.
CG and the Robo Bros. proposed Senior Watch 2.0, an easily programmed software that can be uploaded to a watch to remind seniors and caregivers of their schedules and medicine times, and even to help them find lost objects. As a result of their victory in Poughkeepsie, GC and the Robo Bros. advanced to the Hudson Valley Regional competition at Dutchess Community College, where they placed eighth overall.
In order to produce a desirable and practical product, the students interviewed senior citizens and asked them about their everyday problems. “We were looking for a way to help seniors in their daily lives. We developed a watch that would help them to organize their lives, including helping them with directions and medications, reminding them about events and even finding (misplaced) items,” said Georgia. “The robotics program makes us think about some very cool, amazing things!”
Sajan plans to present the team’s prototype to a patent lawyer with the hope that someday the voice activated Senior Watch 2.0 will be available for consumer purchase.
“It was especially nice to hear the kids tell the judges how their math and science classes helped them during competition,” added Sajan’s father and coach, Jay Bar. “They also learned valuable employment and life skills in the process.” In fact, when asked what careers they would like to pursue if the future, two team members said doctor, one said forensic anthropologist engineer, one said possibly broadcaster and another said either stock trader or engineer.