GBEMS robotics team named state champions

Submitted photo The GBEMS Radioactive Robotics Team consists of Max O’Ganian, Mason Solliday, Willie O’Ganian, Destiney Meeks, Mileya Barkley, Sarah Cole, Kaden Wayne and Jeremey Mick, with coaches Karen O’Neil and Paul Marganian.

On Saturday, the Green Bank Elementary Middle School’s robotics team took first place in the West Virginia First Lego League Tournament and will representing all of West Virginia (and be one of the teams representing the United States) at the World Championship Festival next spring.

First Lego League competitions consist of three parts — designing, building and programming a robot to successfully navigate a wide variety of missions and obstacles on a table-top playing field (using the Lego EV3 platform), coming up with a real-world solution to a research problem, and showing a high level of team work and professionalism throughout all their work.

This year’s research problem is to identify a physical or social problem faced by humans during long duration space exploration, and design an innovative solution to that problem. The team chose human isolation on long space voyages as the problem they wished to help solve, and have come up with an innovative design for a robotic pet (“Space Pet 2.0”) which can help alleviate many of the problems associated with isolation and depression in astronauts.

The team’s robot also did very well in the tournament in its own right. The robot — designed, built and programmed by the team members — had the third highest score in the table top competition, earning a second team trophy for that accomplishment.

The GBEMS robotics team now has four months to prepare for the World Championship Festival. The World Championship Festival is held in two locations each year — Detroit, Michigan, and Houston, Texas. In all, more than 35,000 different First Lego League teams from 90 different countries compete to be one of approximately only 140 teams chosen to take part in the Championship.

The Championship Festival is a four-day event and also includes competitions for the winning teams from the other age categories – First Lego League Junior (ages 6-10), First Tech Challenge (grades 7-12) and First Robotics (high school).

The GBEMS Radioactive Robotics Team consists of Max O’Ganian, Mason Solliday, Willie O’Ganian, Destiney Meeks, Mileya Barkley, Sarah Cole, Kaden Wayne and Jeremey Mick, with coaches Karen O’Neil and Paul Marganian.

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