We woke up really early to go to Starbucks. We met in hall in front of the rooms, our faces flushed with happiness, and then bounded to the elevator. After eating a delicious breakfast, we set off on our walk to Cobo Center.
After a lot of singing and skipping and laughing, we made it there, gleefully hopping towards the massive building.
We quickly went into the FLL Pit Area (where everyone’s booths are) and made a beeline for our booth, where people were already beginning to gather. Allison reminded us that we had a practice table for the robot scheduled, so after awakening our robot Evie, and stabilizing the gyro sensor, we headed over to the table. There were some things that worked surprisingly well, even after we discovered that the walls of the tables at the competition were LOWER than the walls at our table at home! This would drastically change our robot performance, but we worked around it, and ended up with an EVEN STRONGER, sturdier robot. Since we only got ten minutes, we had to leave soon after. We had some time before 8:50, which was when we had our judging.
After it ended at 9:50, it would be Coach Keith’s moment to shine as he directed a conference about Agile and Scrum techniques at 10:30.
We walked around and decided to explore. Hannah and Anika went of on their own to film some vlogs (video logs) and see each booth. They were soon after joined by the rest of the team. There were teams from all over the world! The Switzerland team had balloons with cow print and a white cross on red balloons (their flag). They gave out chocolate, and were very friendly.
The team from India had gorgeous paintings at the back of their booth, and were dressed in traditional costumes while giving out sweet mango candies, and the Greek team had drums and were marching around, waving their flag and screaming a chant. Hannah and Anika immediately vlogged (video-logged) it all.
After exploring some more booths, the coaches called us and said the most terrifying words. “It’s time for your judging.” See, The Judging was when you go into a room with some judges, and you have five minutes to present your project (whether it be a poster, presentation, skit, etc.) and we had to present ours. Ours was the UFO, an inexpensive desalination device that we recently got a provisional patent for, with the law firm Mintz Levin. The judges asked a lot of good questions and were blown away by the fact that we had a (provisional) patent.
The second part of judging was Robot. We hot glued extra robot parts as a border around our poster, and neatly printed out and cut our information. We had also glued construction paper to the back of the sheets so it made a colored border around them. All in all, we were pretty proud of how it turned out. We presented and had to do a mock robot run. They were impressed by our use, or rather, lack of use of motors in our passive attachments.
And finally, Core Values. Core Values were about teamwork, and how we worked together. We had to do an activity, and it was really hard this year! We had to put sand in a cup- without the cup touching the ground- balancing on a wooden dowel. It was very difficult, but we managed to get a decent amount in the cup! We had a poster for Core Values, and we explained that we had presented our robot at an elementary school science fair, applied for a patent, contacted the CEO of a charity, and gone to the Harvard University Robotics Lab for a tour. We talked a lot about our community work, and the judges were very interested.
We ended up walking out of the judging rooms satisfied and grateful that it was over. Those were the most stressful forty minutes of our lives! We had little time to prepare for Coach Keith’s talk, but we collected ourselves at the booth before heading out to the conference room.
Around FIFTY people came to hear him speak, and he showed a very interesting slideshow to the audience. Towards the end, he called us up and had a panel discussion with us- sort of like an interview on the Ellen Show. We passed around the mike, feeling very self conscious, yet proud at the same time. When it was over, the audience members got to ask questions and congratulated us. We felt like we were celebrities!
There, we even met the Ligerbots coach and his daughter, Lauren. The Ligerbots were the high school robotics team, participating in the older robotics competition, FRC. We would see their match the next day and be blown away.
Then, we went to the food court, and got heavenly pizza. It was sooo good, so thick, and the sauce oozed out from underneath the layer of cheese. It tasted so good, and the crust was fluffy, yet crunchy. We could all agree it was the best pizza we had had in awhile. Some of us got pasta and sodas to go along with it. At lunch, we played word games, and socialized with the people from the other teams and competitions. We took pictures next to the giant FIRST sign, and felt more relaxed than we had in the entire trip!
We headed back to the hotel to relax for a few hours, because we had time before the opening ceremony. We watched Brain Games, a documentary about how your brain works, and went to each other’s hotel room. Our legs were aching from walking and standing so much so it was a relief to finally relax. However, soon it was time to leave.
We all went slightly reluctantly, and a little groggily out of the hotel to get to Ford Field, home of the Lions, the Detroit football team. It was a long walk, and we all complained a little, but took everything back when we got there.
It was HUGE, and there was a stage in the center of the field. There were activities and a live band playing with a colorful dance floor. None of us danced, though the music was really catchy, and the noise level was really high. After all, there were around forty-thousand people at the FIRST™ event. We drew little faces and dragons on the drawing boards in colored Sharpies and Kavya drew an amazing dragon with the title: #DayDragonsFLL2018!!!! It really depicted our team spirit.