Mindstorm Magicians

Our team, the Mindstorm Magicians, is a local neighborhood FLL team, based out of Rome, NY with 8 students from the Rome, Oriskany, and Whitesboro school districts. They are coached and mentored by 3 local area professionals/parents. The students (9-14 year olds) spend their weekends wanting to learn more about technology (robots, programming), science (research projects), and team building, all while having fun with LEGO’s!

The team has worked hard since Sept 2012 on constructing a functioning robot out of LEGO bricks, motors, and miniature sensors. Through self-discovery, hours of trial and error, and a little guidance, these students have learned to work together to successfully program their robot to navigate a mission table with various obstacles, and to collaboratively work on a research project that focuses on ways to improve the daily life of senior citizens.

For their research project, the team visited with seniors at the Ava Dorfman Center in Rome and the Acacia Village in Utica during the summer/fall to come up with a project topic to help seniors remain engaged, independent, and connected within our community. As part of this process, the kids identified a common senior problem and created a workable solution to assist seniors to overcome this challenge. Their research resulted in designing a prototype device that attaches to a cane or walker; it includes a medicine compartment for daily use, a timer as a reminder for taking medicine, and two miniature flashlights to assist seniors during the night.

Their hard work in all phases of FLL development has led to successful competitions at both a regional FLL tournament at Rome Catholic School in mid November 2012, and ultimately to the Second Place Champions Award (out of 40+ regional teams overall) at the recent Central NY FIRST Regional Competition at SUNY IT on 1 December 2012. This award has earned the Mindstorm Magicians the right to participate at the U.S. Invitational/North American Open Championship, on May 17-19, 2013 at LEGO Land in Carlsbad, California. The factors that played the biggest role in the students winning were their demonstrations through interactions with judges, their research project, and their robot design.
We would like to the wish the Mindstorm Magicians "Good Luck" and safe travels as they compete this weekend in California against 74 world wide teams.

Team members: Dominic Romano- Rome Catholic
Michael Romano- Oriskany Central School
Ryan Fish- Oriskany Central School
Meagen Fish- Oriskany Central School
Jonah Skinner- Oriskany Central School
Austin Furmanski- Whitesboro Central School
Ryan Furmanski- Whitesboro Central School
John Fava- Whitesboro Central School
coaches and mentors- Brian Romano, Shari Fish, and Jim Furmanski

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