Rhode Island Competition Recap!
March 15, 2023
The LigerBots pose for a photo after winning the Team Sustainability Award during the Rhode Island Competition.

On the weekend of March 11, The LigerBots competed at the New England Rhode Island Event, an official district event where teams can qualify for the New England District Championships. We competed alongside thirty other teams from across the district.

The Rhode Island Competition was a phenomenal experience! We were thrilled to watch our robot, Atlas, in action, as it dodged and weaved through defenders to score game pieces on the grid. 

Our robot, Atlas (bottom right), competes during the Rhode Island Event as seen on Twitch.
Roshan, a member of our pit crew, attends to Atlas maintenance in between matches.

In total, we had forty students and ten coaches attend the event. After competing in twelve qualifying rounds requiring some on the spot repairs in between matches, we were picked into the third seeded alliance and made it to the semi-finals. Many thanks to our drive team, build team, scouts, and our Alliance Captain, team Morpheus, for helping us achieve this!

In addition, FIRST also awarded us the Team Sustainability award, for developing a sustainable recruiting, training and mentoring team environment that will last for years to come. In all, these accomplishments placed us 33rd out of 187 teams across the district. 

We also had impressive individual awards earned during the event. Kevin, the LigerBots’ co-Chief Technical Officer, was awarded the District Championship Dean’s List Semi-Finalist for his immaculate leadership.

Co-CTO Kevin (right), nominated as a Dean’s List Semifinalist.

Greer Swiston, a mentor who has served for eight years on the LigerBots, was nominated as a finalist for the Woodie Flowers Award, acknowledging her long-time dedication to the team.

Greer Swiston (4th from the left), nominated as a finalist for the Woodie Flowers Award.

Our next competition will be on the weekend of March 24 to 26! The event will be held in Revere High School in Revere, MA. Come see us compete! More information here. 

In the coming weeks, we are looking forward to exhibiting our robot at Newton North High School Puzzle Day on March 15 and also running several STEAM activities for elementary school students at Cabot Schools Invention Invasion on March 16.

As always, we’d like to acknowledge our sponsors: Rotary Club of Newton, Honda Village, Teradyne, PTC, Village Bank, Raytheon Missiles & Defense, Newton Schools Foundation, Newton Public Schools, Rockwell Automation, as well as the Cao, Chaudhury Karim, Franklin, King, Preston, Saitz, Sangiolio, Wang Ji, Schwartz, Nedeljkovic, and Housman Family. Your support is greatly appreciated!

Come to see us compete this weekend in Rhode Island!
March 9, 2023

Come see our new robot, Atlas, in action this weekend, March 11-12 at Ponaganset High School in North Scituate, Rhode Island! The competition will run at 8:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 8:00–6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Details can be read here. 

We also have a second competition coming up on March 25-26 in Revere, MA. We’ll tell you more details soon!

Build Season Update!
February 10, 2023

The LigerBots have been hard at work throughout the build season, and we’re excited to share with you our progress so far!

We launched into the start of the season strong: throughout preseason, we worked hard on training our CAD team and our new members, with our CAD team working on making complex mechanisms like continuous elevators.

CAD model of a continuous elevator mechanism for mock 3DD, which was centered around the 2018 game

In addition to giving first-years CAD experience throughout preseason, we did a mock three-day design (3DD) prior to build season, where groups within the team created mock designs of robots.

Prototype of the intake brainstormed during Mock 3DD

After kickoff, build season officially began! We started with the actual three-day design process, where LigerBots students brainstormed and designed all the mechanisms for the robot this year.

Then, the CAD team set out to create sketches, and later in-depth models, of the mechanisms we planned for this year’s robot. Prototyping intake mechanisms also began during the first week.

Prototype of the pinch claw, a possible end-effector (a device attached to the end of a robotic arm)
Sketches by Elliot brainstorming possible ideas for a roller claw, a type of manipulator able to draw in and release an object through a powered roller.
LigerBots build leaders catch up on progress within each mechanism.

During the second week, the CAD team delved deeper into the CADing process to finalize mechanism designs on OnShape, the mechanical team worked in the shop to test prototypes and manufacturing parts, and this year’s prospective drive team completed tryouts. We also began assembling the chassis—the base frame of the robot—and other mechanisms, some of which were designed during 3DD. We also finalized our swerve drive and superstructure frame, which holds up a pivot gearbox along with a rotating and telescoping arm—this design will allow the robot to reach high nodes and pick up both game pieces during competition.  

Team members Kavya and Phillip test a linear claw mechanism for grabbing objects.
Juliana and Roshan assemble a pneumatic-powered roller claw.
Lulu, Yutong, and Coach Noa test the straightener, an intake mechanism to rotate fallen cones to an upward position

By week three of build season, we were able to fully build the chassis as well as create some mock swerve modules—which allow for smooth, controllable movement—that the drive team could practice with. The programming group also worked towards creating a working auto-leveling system for the charging station to ensure that the swerve drive and maneuver securely on and off the station.

The FIRST Impact Award team has also begun to finish up rough drafts for the award essay, executive summary, and the award video—all of which we will be presenting to FIRST judges. The marketing team has also prepared for a Women in STEM fair, held at Newton North this past Saturday, as well as creating team merchandise, the team booklet, and the competition pit banner.

LigerBots students attach mock swerve modules to the chassis.
Front of this year’s t-shirt design in adherence with the FIRST game theme, featuring Thaddeus as a lineman for LigerBots Power Co.
LigerBots members help younger students create slime during the Women in STEM event on Feb. 4.

As we approach the end of build season, we’re super excited to show off more of what we’ve been doing! Everyone has been in high gear throughout build season, and we’re looking forward to showcasing our hard work at our first event.

This a friendly reminder to consider helping the LigerBots through our NorWex fundraiser! For any proceeds made to NorWex, the LigerBots receive 25%. The fundraiser ends on February 20th.

As always, we’d like to acknowledge our sponsors for making possible our progress this build season: Rotary Club of NewtonHonda VillageTeradynePTCVillage BankRaytheon Missiles & DefenceNewton Schools FoundationNewton Public SchoolsRockwell Automation, as well as the Cao, Chaudhury Karim, Franklin, King, Preston, Saitz, Sangiolio, Wang Ji, Schwartz, Nedeljkovic, and Housman Family. Your support is greatly appreciated! 

Support the LigerBots with Norwex!
January 30, 2023

From now until February 20, if you buy a Norwex product using this link, we will receive 25% of the proceeds! By making a purchase through our Norwex Fundraiser, not only will you receive quality and eco-friendly cleaning products, but your support will also directly help us build our yearly robot, attend competitions, and promote STEAM participation in our community. No minimum purchase required. Thank you in advance for your support!

LigerBots Host Newton Qualifier FLL Tournament and STEAM Expo
December 1, 2022

On Saturday, November 19, the LigerBots hosted the FLL Qualifier, a LEGO robotics tournament for middle and elementary schoolers. Eighteen teams of younger students from throughout Massachusetts came to compete in fun, fast-paced matches refereed by LigerBots students. The sound of the MC announcing the matches over the background music, a sea of colorful custom T-shirts, and LEGOs scattered throughout the school—this was the scene of the event, which was almost back in full swing after losing momentum from the pandemic.

LigerBots student Benji referees an FLL match.

Running alongside the Newton FLL Qualifier, the annual LigerBots STEAM expo was a huge success! LigerBots offered eight hands-on activities, and there were several outside exhibitors, including the Massachusetts National Guard, Green Newton, and Johnson String Instrument, as well as high school groups such as the NNHS Programming club, NNHS STEMentors, NSHS Science team, and NSHS Women in STEM. More than 100 kids engaged in a variety of STEAM activities and demonstrations. Among the LigerBots activities, approximately 100 binary bracelets, 100 balloon cars, 100 origami double pyramids and tangrams, 50 cups of slime, 20 solar ovens, and more than 100 custom buttons were made.

During the STEAM expo, the NSHS Science Team helps students build balloon cars.
A pair of children craft DIY balloon cars during the STEAM expo.

NNTV, Newton North’s student-run television station, interviewed several LigerBots and FLL students during the event. Team member Kavin talked about the little moments that made the LigerBots fun for him, like playing soccer with fellow team members. With teammates Kevin and Roshan, Kavin also talked to NNTV about LigerBots’ core values and a basic rundown of FLL and the STEAM Expo. Despite his now sore throat, Kavin had an awesome time giving his thoughts!

A representative from NewTV interviews LigerBots member Kavin.

The event ended with an awards ceremony and a dance party. Awards in several categories were given out. The five finalists were the Goofy Gyros (Champion’s Award Winner) from Ashland, Mechanical Madness (Champion’s Award Runner-up) from North Attleboro, Team Arrow from Canton, the Green Gearticks from Lincoln, and the Exploding Bananas from Lexington. Congratulations to these students, who will move on to the Massachusetts FLL Championship, at WPI, in the next round.

Students play limbo before the awards ceremony.

Of the 18 participating teams, five were from Newton: the Hawks, the Cookie Coders, Team Voltage, the Newton Nanobots, and the Tie-Dye Chickens. The Cookie Coders won second place in the Core Values judging and Team Voltage won the Rising All-Star award.

The 18 participating FLL teams, consisting of elementary and middle school students from all over Massachusetts.