The Bionic Porcupines III journey began seven months ago at their first practice in the home of one of their coaches, Mr. Mark Snaufer.
The team brainstormed their core values presentation, project ideas, robot design and many other aspects of the upcoming robotics season. The team gathered an average of three days per week to work on various aspects of the competition in order to prepare for local and state competitions. The team estimates that they spent at least 1500 person hours of building, designing, programing, community meetings, and practicing of robot runs and presentations to get them ready for their destiny.
At the state tournament, the competition between the 48 teams was fierce and friendly, but in the end the Bionic Porcupines III were selected as the top team with two coveted trophies. The Porcupines had the highest score during the robot games with a 395 points in a single run (out of 540 points) and they took home the honor of state champions with the best overall performance across all categories.
“While I am so impressed that the Bionic Porcupines team won the Champions award and head to world to represent Utah, I am more proud that they found joy with their competition and with each other,” says coach Ben Holt.
Robotics champions are selected not only because of their robot’s ability to run the highly sophisticated and autonomous “missions” but also on the team’s ability to create a project that gives back to their community and representing the highest standards of professionalism, cooperation and competitive spirit. This year the Porcupines were recognized for all of these judging items, including their community impact. The team created an iPhone application that was adopted by the city of Sandy as part of the city’s water conservation project. The Porcupines’ app, called “Water Bank,“ allows Sandy city residents to monitor and adjust their water usage in an attempt to reduce the wasting of water. The Porcupines used gamification, as taught to them by Chris Wasden at the University of Utah, in their app to make it not only educational but fun to use. Water Bank is patent pending.
The Porcupines now move on to compete against an even tougher class of competition at the Lego Robotics World Championships. The world championships will take place on April 18th through 21st in Houston, Texas.
For more information about the Bionic Porcupines and/or their iPhone water app, or if you would like to contribute to their Go Fund Me account to cover expenses of the national championships, contact Ben Holt at 801-783-4730 or check them out on the web at https://www.gofundme.com/bionic-porcupinesworld-lego-champs
Pictured: Coach Ben Holt, Carter Lechtenberg, Katie Drennan, Kassie Holt, Eric Snaufer, Tim Holt, Coach Annie Drennan, Allison Drennan. Not pictured: Coach Mark Snaufer.