Three teams from the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District will participate in Delaware’s First Lego League (FLL) State Champion’s Tournament at the Bob Carpenter Center on January 28, 2012.
FLL is a world-wide robotics program for 9 to 14 year olds started by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway. FLL’s mission is to get children excited about science, engineering and technology while teaching them valuable employment and life skills.
The theme of this year’s competition is “Food Factor — Keeping Food Safe” and FLL teams build, test and program an autonomous robot to solve a set of food safety missions as well as research, develop and share their innovative food safety solutions.
The three teams advancing to the State Champion’s tournament are:
The Chef Bot-Ardees, who won the first place Champion’s Trophy at the Oxford High School qualifying tournament, comprised of 6th graders Austin Hwa, CJ McClure, Jonathan Nguyen, KC Simmons and Dev Singh from Charles F. Patton Middle School and 4th grader Thomas McClure from Chadds Ford Elementary School;
The Robotic Chargers, who placed third in the robot mission portion of the competition at the Patton Middle School qualifying tournament, comprised of 6th grader Andrew Binder from Charles F. Patton Middle School and 5th graders Anand Raju, Joshua Binder, Kessler DuPont-Teevin, Liam Jackson and Mira Zutshi from Chadds Ford Elementary School; and
Team W.A.T.T.S. (We Advance Tomorrow’s Technology Sooner) comprised of 7th grader Sagar Maheshwari and 6th graders Margaret Clisham, Ryan Hastings, Chris Jackson, Sean Sullivan and Eli Weisman from Charles F. Patton Middle School and 5th grader Joe Millman from Tower Hill School.
The research component to the competition is equal to the robot missions and these three teams used their ingenuity and vision to develop innovative food safety solutions. The Chef Bot-Ardees researched the safety of beef storage in the home and discovered that the public generally does not know what temperature their refrigerator/freezer should be set to in order to keep their food safe from the growth of dangerous bacteria (40 degrees F or below in the refrigerator and 0 degrees F or below in the freezer).
The home is the last line of defense in food safety and to educate consumers about this important issue, the Chef Bot-Ardees are working to amend the federal law governing the Safe Food Handling Label that is on every package of beef, poultry and pork to specifically state the proper refrigerator/freezer temperature. The team will be testifying at a public meeting of the USDA in Washington, DC about their research on January 31st. The Chef Bot-Ardees also wrote to all US refrigerator manufacturers to urge them to change their manuals to include information about food safety and they encourage all consumers to buy a small liquid crystal thermometer (available at www.tiptemp.com) to put in their refrigerators so they will know if their food is at a safe temperature, especially in the case of a power outage.
The Robotic Chargers researched the prevention of contamination of poultry by campylobacter bacteria and proposed the creation of “Mr. FoodSafe,” a machine that sprays ions on the chicken. These ions get attracted to the campylobacter bacteria through a positive/negative charge and are then suctioned off using an ion vacuum. A thorough rinse cycle cleans the chicken of any residues, leaving the chicken bacteria-free with no taste of texture changes.
Team W.A.T.T.S. researched how to protect food from being left at unsafe temperatures for extended periods of time when refrigeration isn’t available, like at a picnic, family get-together or camping. Their proposed solution is the “Smart Bowl” for items such as potato salad that should be kept below 40 degrees F. The bowl will change color from clear to red when it is left out in the sun too long, alerting the owner that the food is is the danger zone for dangerous bacteria to grow.