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Team Robot Wizards (Team 487 of Dedham, Massachusetts, USA), recently received a FIRST ®LEGO® League Engineer Scott Evans’ approval on a unique innovation. Remember: Innovation doesn’t just happen in the Robot Game or Project. Once you start, the opportunities to solve problems begin to appear everywhere. Read on for their story in their words…

Last year we formed Team Robot Wizards, made up of 6 young boys with a passion for LEGO, building things, and solving problems! We had a blast participating in the Massachusetts qualifiers and were fortunate enough to move on to the state championships. It was a fantastic season, and we eagerly awaited the start of the 2015 competition.

 

As this season began and the rules were released, the coach noticed a small but important rule change – rule R11: “Equipment and Models are not allowed on the floor.” This was a big deal for us as last year during the robot competitions we relied on a small cardboard box-top we kept on the floor next to the competition table. The box top held additional pieces, mechanisms, and alignment-templates that we would use during the 2.5-minute competition. This kept our Safety area free of clutter and gave us room to align and modify our robot on the table.

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We then noticed on the FIRST  LEGO League website a team (Team Brainstorm of Tennessee) had shared a design for a sheet-metal tray with hook-features that could be hung on one of the 2×4 walls of the competition table, forming an additional surface to store equipment! The idea was interesting, but we did not have the tools or expertise to fabricate this tray and did not want to spend money on getting it professionally made. We wondered what we could do. One of the team members noticed how similar in size our box top was to the sheet-metal tray, and we wondered if we could make our own version!

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So like any good team of innovators, we did not reinvent the wheel but used what we had learned to solve a problem in a novel and effective way. One of the coaches commented that you can buy metal hooks that hang on office-space cubicle walls to hang coats. A quick Internet search and we found what we needed! Once the hooks came in, the team set to work and built what we fondly call the “Turtle Bucket” (in honor of the LEGO turtle that is part of the TRASH TREKSM Field Setup Kit).

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We made an effort to share our idea with photos and a brief description of how to make it. We hope others will find it useful, too!

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– Team Robot Wizards, Dedham, MA

Thanks, Team Robot Wizards! You can build your own Turtle Bucket with the team’s Turtle Bucket instructions here!