Two local robotics teams proudly represented Molokai by taking first and second place last weekend at the First Lego League tournament in Kahului.
Saturday’s event at Pomaikai Elementary School in the Maui Lani subdivision was the first of two FLL Maui District qualifying tournaments. With the strong performances, both teams advanced to First Lego League State Tournament, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 3.
The Molokai Oompah Loompahs placed first at the 2011 Food Factor Challenge-Maui #2 District Tournament. This team of six Molokai girls between sixth and ninth grades took home the grand champions award.
The Oompah Loompas is made up of Hikilii Chow and Sarah Jenkins (both ninth graders from Molokai High School), Momi Afelin (eighth grader from Molokai Middle School), Lily Jenkins (seventh grader from Molokai Middle School), Cendall Manley (eighth grader home school) and Katie Domingo (sixth grader from Kaunakakai Elementary School).
The FLL project, called “The Pressurator”, involves putting food under high pressure to remove any harmful elements. The theme of this year’s project involves using new technology to improve food quality and safety.
“The Pressurator” is a high pressure processing technology that can be incorporated into a refrigerator drawer. It applies 60,000 pounds of pressure in such great force that it actually crushes the DNA of anything alive, including possible bacteria growth (such as e coli, campyobactor and salmonella) in food. Typically, heat is used to remove harmful bacteria. Instead, “The Pressurator” uses hydraulic fluid to apply pressure, which allows people to eat food rare, uncooked or medium rare. This invention replaces the need for heat to make food safe.
The coach for the Oompah Loompas is Meg Fox and the team’s mentors are Louise Manley and Heidi Jenkins.
Earning second place was the Molokai Blizzard Boys. The team is Kapahu Chow (eighth grader from Molokai Middle School), Erik Svetin (seventh grader from Molokai Middle School), Kai Kalani and Noah Keanini (sixth graders at Kaunakakai Elementary School), Caele Manley (sixth grader home school) and Augustine Lodise (fifth grader at Kaunakakai School).
The Blizzard Boys invented a Temperature Saving System (TSS) that improves the quality of food by finding ways to prevent food contamination.
The TSS is a monitoring system that could save money and energy for businesses that use industrial freezers and refrigerators. The Boys have developed a wireless sensor along with an app for a smart phone or Ipad that will transmit temperature data. The app receives information from temperature sensors located on or in the refrigeration system. If there is a radical increase or decrease in temperature, the app will sound an alarm. It will also have a list of local engineers to call to assist in restoring the appliance. With easy access to this data, store managers can constantly monitor temperatures inside of freezers and refrigerators, saving time and money.
The team’s coach is David Kawika Gonzales and the team’s mentors are Kimberly Svetin, Pat Harris and Genesis Lodise.