The Middle School Robotics Team known as SOAR (Students of Outstanding Achievement in Robotics), placed 4th at the FIRST LEGO League Regional Tournament, qualifying them to move on to the state tournament in New Orleans. They were also awarded the trophy for “Best Project” for their invention of Aqua-Fit.
According to SOAR coaches, Mrs. Fitzgerald and Mrs. Liner, the team has been working hard since August to prepare for competition. This year’s theme is “Senior Solutions” which means that, in addition to building and programming a robot to accomplish multiple missions, the team must create a product that will enhance the lives of the aging population by helping them stay active and independent.
The team’s invention, Aqua-Fit, is a safety tub containing a submersible treadmill that can be installed in any home as a bathtub replacement. A similar apparatus exists at the LSU Vet School to facilitate the rehabilitation of dogs and other animals. The team combined the attributes of the walk-in safety tubs demonstrated by Re-Bath with a submersible treadmill, adding handrails, a safety switch for a fast stop and drain, and a fold-down bench for bathing and other leg exercises.
The SOAR team traveled to New Orleans for the FLL State Tournament on December 8th. The competition was extraordinary and the Parkview team was able to overcome some major obstacles, finishing with a rank of 11th out of a field of 60 teams. Mentor Mrs. Fitzgerald said, “I am so proud of this group of students. They showed incredible poise and professionalism under pressure and worked through adversity. This is only our second year to compete and the team was amazing.”
So what will the SOAR Robotics Team be doing this Spring? “We will be working towards a patent of the Aqua-Fit idea and design. We may also enter a NASA competition to design a zero gravity exercise program for astronauts on the Space Station. And of course we will be working on new designs and programs for our robots,” said Mrs. Fitzgerald.