The Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC) 2017 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, the Robo-Rattlers, won their second State Championship Title. The team’s win secures its invitation to the World Finals.
The Rutland Robo-Rattlers, a FIRST Lego League (FLL) robotics team featuring area students from ages 9 to 14, competed in the Vermont State FLL Championships at Norwich University on Sunday, Dec. 10 and secured the top spot for the second year in a row.
Teams work over a three-month season to design, build and program Lego robots to solve real-world problems based on an annual theme. This season the Robo-Rattlers focused on hydrodynamics and the human water cycle. The Robo-Rattlers designed and built a series of internet-connected water meters to help families gauge their water usage and provide suggestions to conserve water. The team’s water monitoring system, The H2Show, is built like a Fitbit for faucets.
The team will continue to prepare for the World Finals being held in Detroit in April. Over 32,000 teams compete around the world to earn a spot in the World Finals and the Robo-Rattlers are one of only 216 teams that will get the chance to compete.
The FIRST robotics programs emphasize a diverse array of skill development for participants. Coach Karen McCalla says, “Public speaking, teamwork, perseverance, engineering, problem solving and cooperation are all primary talents in FIRST competitions and are the skills that we want our kids to excel at. Our team has developed a strong spirit of helping others and the attitude that what we learn is more important than what we win.”
Thirteen-year-old Maxwell McCalla says he’s looking forward to World Finals. “We get to interact with so many people from around the U.S. and the world,” he said. “It’s really exciting that I get to see so much diversity between teams.”
The Robo-Rattlers were honored as the REDC 2017 Young Entrepreneurs of the Year in November. Lyle Jepson, executive director of REDC, praised the program, participants, coaches and families involved. “These young people are helping to spread that word that the Rutland Region is an innovative, collaborative and inspiring place to live, work and play. They work hard and it is exciting to see them recognized for their success two years in a row,” he said.
The Robo-Rattlers team competes in the recent state championship.