Livingston’s Exit 5A Robotics Returns From Competition With Award

Exit 5A Robotics, an all-girls robotics team, completed their 2017-2018 FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition season at the
North American Open Championships (NAOC).
The event was held at LegoLand Carlsbad, Calif., May 18-20, with 79 of the top teams from each of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and leading teams from Sweden, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay, South Korea, and Japan. Teams competing in FLL are judged and scored in three categories: robotics, core-values & teamwork, and a STEM
research project. The 2017-2018 season saw 325 FLL teams compete in NJ, 20,000 in the U.S., and about 30,000 teams worldwide.
A member of Livingston Robotics Club (LRC) since 2014, the 2017/2018 team was made up of Livingston High School and Heritage Middle School students. The team was built around the veteran core of fourth year team members Jannet Chari, Julia Chen, Annica Lam, Chloe Sivitz, Summer Yung. After a one-year hiatus, Maggie Siao returned fully invigorated to captain the STEM research project. Rachelle Hu, in her second year brought advanced programming concepts to help with robot navigation and new comer Elaina Mann developed rapidly with novel mechanisms to help the robot complete missions. Lam captained the robot team development team and Yung captained the
core-values & teamwork efforts.
At the NAOC, Exit 5A Robotics (E5A) won a Judges Award, being cited for their enthusiasm, teamwork and community efforts. The team’s STEM research project was noted by judges as being an original solution with potential value. Their proposal titled
“Amphitrite” utilizes a class of plants known as Halophytes to drastically reduce road- salt contamination of reservoirs and aquifers. This will soon be entering a pilot project
phase with a local water utility. Judges also cited the team’s robotics work for strategy & innovation with original features and systematic design. The team’s robot finished in top
20 percent with 16th place in the robot game challenge and a few millimeters away from completing a mission that would have placed them in ninth.
With the season complete, the team reflected back upon the year. Chari commented that the NAOC was filled with so many people of different backgrounds but everyone still shared common bond for STEM, robotics, and gracious professionalism. For her, it was a wonderful experience to meet teams from around the world.
Sivitz observed that "Throughout this year, we've met so many inspiring people, been to numerous exciting events, meeting over 5,000 people along the way. It was great to be among so many other talented teams at the NAOC.”
For Siao, she saw a stark but highly positive change with nearly half of competitor being young women compared to the less than a quarter in the 2014 NAOC she was part of with Exit 5 Robotics.
The season was also a positive life changing aspect. For Yung, the NAOC was a special experience being able to meet different teams from different states and countries. It was a reminder that even with lot of hard work spent learning new things, everybody there was still learning.
Chen also found that aspiring to learn was a common bond across young people from around the world. She noticed that everyone was more concerned about learning new things as opposed to focusing on winning, even though they were at a competitive event.
On the robot side, Lam expressed relief but also pride in all the hard work that transpired from August to May. "This season of FLL was one of the most memorable experiences in my life. We built three robots each with increasing complexity and improved our programming to make a better navigating robot” Hu found that the difficult 2016-2017 season laid the foundation for this successful 2017-2018 season that incorporated much many more advancements in both programming and mechanics.
Mann came away from the NAOC with a great appreciation for the diversity of robot designs and project ideas.
E5A expresses great appreciation for all the support it received this season from organizations and the township, as well as sponsors.
For more information about supporting E5A or starting a robotics team,

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