The honors keep coming for Molokai Middle School. Last week it was named “Most Improved School” in the state and over the weekend it took home top honors in the state robotics championship.
Molokai Middle School won the overall first place Champions Award at the eighth annual Hawaii First Lego League Championship held Saturday at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Oahu.
The team — named the Molokai Golden Eyes as a way to honor Molokai kupuna — developed a project called Golden Glasses to go with this year’s FLL theme “Senior Solutions.” FLL teams were tasked to improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged and connected to the communities.
The six-member Molokai team developed conceptual glasses using face-recognition software to help the elderly remember the people they see. The design calls for a microcomputer attached to the glasses and a heads-up display in the eyewear that would show the name of the person and his or her relationship to that person.
Last year two Molokai teams took first place in the Core Values and Teamwork categories at the state championships. But a Molokai team has never earned the overall Champions Award trophy.
The Molokai Golden Eyes was the last of 52 teams to compete in the robot missions. Each robot has to complete three missions, which take two minutes each, and involve tasks like knocking down bowling pins and raising levers on weightlifting machines. The team placed in the top 12 to advance to the finals.
According to Molokai robotics coordinator Heidi Jenkins, the Golden Glasses project used Facebook tagging and Google Glasses to prove that the invention is possible.
“The team researched the issue of memory loss associated with aging that may leave senior citizens feeling less connected and engaged with their family, friends and community,” Jenkins told The Maui News.
The win qualifies the Molokai team for a national competition such as the Lego Land California Invitational in Carlsbad in May.
The team members include Erik Svetin and Lily Jenkins, 8th-graders, and Noah Keanini and Katy Domingo, 7th-graders at Molokai Middle School; Caele Manley, 7th-grader, home-schooled; and Kaitlin DeRouin, Kaunakakai Elementary School.
David Gonzales is the team head coach with assistants Jennifer Whitted and Sarah Jenkins, a 10th-grader from Molokai High School.
Over 200 teams statewide competed and showcased their robots in the FLL State Championships, according to the Hawaii Robotics Organizing Committee.
Maui County swept the top spots with Carden Academy’s Mindreapers taking second place in the competition for 9- to 14-year-olds.