Animal Allies

Research Project

For the competition we had to think of a project related to the theme Animal Allies. The theme for this year’s competition was on how do people help animals and how do animals help people.  In order to choose the project we all brainstormed a lot of ideas and we chose the project we all liked.  The project that we all chose is called Nest Cam. Nest Cam has a camera installed which allows you to see what is happening inside the nest at anytime on your device, without disturbing the birds. There is a Sense Hat that helps to measure temperature and humidity. Under the Sense Hat is the Raspberry Pi, which is a mini computer.  All of this is powered by a battery. You can look into the bird house with multiple devices as long as they are all powered within the same WiFi connection. We also plan on having solar panels. Please visit our GitHub page for project details.  See below for pictures of initial prototype:

Sources and Field Trips

This amazing season, we went on many field trips. We also visited websites and talked with experts. The first field trip we went to was to Queens Aviary. There we saw many species of birds and their habitats. It was a beautiful site to see! One of our teammates, Aashritha Kilambi, has three active bird nests in her backyard. Aashritha loved watching birds since she was a little kid. We observed the birds’ behaviors. We also went to Cornell University. We also got an opportunity to give a presentation of our project to the scientists there. The scientists gave us a lot of feedback of how to make our project better. Cornell also has a website (nestwatch.org) that gave us information on how to build bird nests and what type of birds are declining in what parts of the country. The whole team is also a certified for the Cornell Code of Conduct. One of our mentors, Rochelle Tolkoff studied birds for about 20 years. She gave us a lot of facts of birds, their migration, mating, and much more. We also visited nodered.org which is a virtual programming software helped to program the sense hat and the Raspberry Pi. That is how we measured the barometric pressure, humidity, and temperature.

Robot Design and Programming

This year, we built our robot together. It has 3 motors. 2 of the 3 motors are large motors. We use the large motors to drive the wheels of the robot. The other motor we use is called a medium motor. We use it for attachments to do the challenges on the FLL mat. We also use 3 sensors. 2 of those sensors are color sensors. We use them to follow lines, align to lines, and to find lines. We also use the gyro sensor which helps us turn the robot more accurately. To program the robot, we made flash cards and laid it out on the mat to see how we can do the challenges. When we were programming, we worked in pairs. Currently, the challenges we are doing are Shark, Service Dog, BeeKeeping, and Pig Gecko Zoologist Dog Trainer Manure Sample. This year, in the Practice Tournament, we scored 54 points. In the Qualifier, we scored 69 points and won the Champions Award. In the Championship, we scored 110 points. We are now headed to Legoland for the final round.