We’re going to the World Championship!


The Mission San Jose Elementary FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics team Tacobots has won 1st place competing against 43 other teams in the Northern California Championship in Sacramento on Saturday, January 16th. The Tacobots will now advance to the FIRST LEGO League World Festival and FIRST Championship in St. Louis in April 2016. The World Festival is a celebration of the FIRST LEGO League season. This celebration showcases Champion’s Award-winning teams from 46 countries. The Tacobots will be part of the 108 teams, chosen out of more than 29,000 teams who participated in over 1,200 qualifying and championship tournaments worldwide during this past year.


During each of the championship and qualifying tournaments, the center stage consists of teams taking turns running their robots through a variety of challenges on a thematic playing field and scoring points. The robot game is only part of the event.  Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the Core Values. Teams participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game), developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by the FIRST LEGO League Core Values which include “what we learn is more important than what we win” and “gracious professionalism.”


The Tacobots have won the Champion’s award at Northern California State Championship by demonstrating exemplary effort, creative thinking, and gracious professionalism.


As part of researching and finding a solution to a real world problem, the Tacobots came up with the idea of “Smart Trash”. Smart Trash enables identification of eWaste in landfills by detecting RFID tags embedded in eWaste at the point of pickup or at point of sorting at the Material Recycling Facility (MRF) . The team built a prototype using an Arduino board and RFID sensors to demonstrate feasibility. The team hopes to increase awareness of the issues with eWaste ending up in our landfills and work with electronic manufacturers, RFID tag vendors, and recycling centers on finding an effective solution that can scale.

The Tacobots consists of 9 team members from 4th through 6th grades. Team members are  Prakrit Ramachandran, Ishan Gohel (4th grade), Carolyn McNay, Amelie Wu (5th grade) and Mrinaal Ramachandran, Abhinav Raghavendra, Vikrant Bajaj, Jeffrey Liu and Ryan Wu (6th grade). They call themselves the Tacobots because each of them brings a unique flavor and contribution to the team. The Tacobots would like to thank the RoboKnights (FTC team #5220) and especially Nimish Shah and Shalin for inspiring and mentoring  all aspiring MSJE robotics enthusiasts.  

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