|This WAS the dining room. As soon as the
Turkey was cleared, they moved out the
furniture and set up the 14 foot square robot
field. I hear I get it back for Christmas Day
|Grandpa adding the ball track made from wreath forms while
watching football in my family room. Note the almost finished
gingerbread train (it moves)
know what is best. I guess it keeps us from arguing about politics.
We haul ourselves down to MIT on Friday and set up. It takes forever to tweak it to work and usually still requires 'the hand of god' to move a ball that gets stuck somewhere in the movements. The public comes in around 1pm and they swarm around all the teams and ask questions and watch your segment run. The whole thing goes off around 3:30pm and is filmed in a crazy dance to much audience delight. Almost 2000 people are there. Tons of kids and that has become our speciality - doing something that delights. What I am really proud of is how many teams over the years have told us that they came the year before and saw ours and decided they could do it and got their kids doing it with them. That is awesome! I am not sure if they are thinking 'heck - I could do better than that!!' or if our team's use of things we have laying around the house is inspiring for last minute prep. We always limit ourselves to kid-friendly materials, which of course delights the kids as well. We were the first to use toys and now that is a major theme of teams.
This year, our theme was gingerbread. Yes, half our set up was edible and that was a first. I have been asked for years to redo my legendary moving gingerbread train (my kids remember it from their baby years), so we did it again. The Lego robot teams used their breaks in competition training to decorate our houses for the set up (a convenient excuse to sugar load before going back to robot tweaking!). My mom had to bake tons of cookies as diversionary materials for the robot teens and grown-up men so they wouldn't raid the structural gingerbread. There was generally too much sugar imbibed by all.
|The Rubicon X team. What you can't see is the wire structure
in the air that carries the ball around - it disappears in the picture.
and used more Knex, Legos, than you can shake a stick at. We still haven't incorporated live animals (this has been done with bunnies and ducks) but I am thinking of training my hamster for 2015!