Monthly Archives: November 2013


Rockwell Automation: Engineer the Future

First FLL Team 7401, aka The Green Mountain Gears completed their first “elevator pitch” for entry into the Rockwell Automation: Engineer the Future Competition. Andrew Kim and Luke Fitzgerald partnered to make the 1 minute video that proposes their goal, to build a play-based generator for use at recess in their school.

The boys came up with the idea while working on a computer programming competition, Energy Boss, through Carnegie Mellon’s CS2N program in the spring, which they won. While researching energy, the boys came across a TEDx talk by Julia C. Silverman, co-founder of Unchartered Play, who revealed a design and prototype of a soccer ball that charges a battery while kids play soccer. The ball was designed for use in off-grid areas, such as remote Africa, and the video illustrated kids being able to read at night or study by attaching a light source to the battery in their soccer ball. This made the boys wonder, “Could we do something like that?”

Andrew and Luke envision recess where the energy used in play can be captured and used to power electronics. They plan to design and construct a prototype generator for the science fair this winter. Their preliminary plan is to modify a basketball stand and net such that the a ball will go from the net to a tube, which will guide the ball past several wheels, within the tube, that will be attached to small generators along the basketball stand. The ball will be returned to the player through a bend at the bottom of the tube and the electricity will be stored in a battery.

The boys completed the video during an early release day from school. This competition created an opportunity for the boys to learn how to make a 1-minute elevator talk, which took nearly 10 different versions to get the presentation within time. The boys also created original art work and wrote and performed an original musical score.

Winners are determined by an internet vote, starting 11/11 with a top prize of a new robot and free registration for next next year’s FLL season. Please visit the site and vote for their project. Anyone is allowed to vote and a person can vote once daily between the 11th and the 29th. There will be a link on the site once the competition begins. There will be a link on the site once the competition begins.

Music Score