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Space Cookies Robotics Team Wins 2021 First Robtotics Competition's Regional Chairman's Award
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Space Cookies Robotics Team Wins 2021 First Robtotics Competition's Regional Chairman's Award

The Space Cookies, Team 1868, one of our three NASA Ames House robotics teams, topped off a challenging season by winning the First Robotics Competition’s (FRC) Greater San Francisco Bay Area Regional Chairman’s Award (RCA). This is their ninth RCA, the highest honor in FRC, and the award qualifies the team to compete for the Championship Chairman’s Award. The team participated in all four aspects of the modified 2021 competition.

  • Innovation Challenge: Their innovation, Don’t Stop ME Now, focuses on the important topic of menstrual equity, which has the goal that no menstruating person is ever in a position where they do not have access to the products they need. Team 1868 designed a solution that combines advocacy and technology: a campaign to have schools and businesses provide menstrual products at no charge, and a mobile app that provides information about nearby restrooms with menstrual products. For this innovation, the team received the Semi-Finalist Award.
  • Infinite Recharge at Home: The team had girls working on the robot at their own homes for the first few months of the season and starting in April they were able to have groups of three girls meet in person to make improvements to their Infinite Recharge robot. They focused on the indexer and shooter and developed new programs that allow the robot to use vision systems to shoot accurately while in autonomous mode. For demonstrating a professional approach to the engineering design process, they received the Excellence in Engineering Award.
  • Game Design Challenge: Their game, Bio Breakthrough, has a cell biology theme. Alliances work together to build molecules inside a cell before it replicates. The primary task on the field is linking chains, either horizontally or vertically, with each sequential link worth more points. Each of the field elements has a cell biology reference. For this, the team received the Designers Award, which celebrates a team’s outstanding success with the Game Design Challenge and also qualifies them to compete for the Championship Game Design Challenge.

In addition to the competition season, Team 1868 transitioned their community outreach activities to a virtual format. Highlights include:

  • Presentations at several For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) conferences, working to engage young people's interest and participation in science and technology
  • A circuits workshop with a space theme at a Girl Scout “camporee”
  • A fully online badge workshop for 40 Junior Girl Scouts (grades 4-5) in April. Each girl received a box with all the necessary materials, including a kit to build their own robot. They also had the girls build Mars rovers so that NASA can start recruiting their future engineers early. They will be running a Summer Robotics camp for Cadette Girl Scouts in late June
  • A very cool new project with the City of Palo Alto; Team 1868 is building a FarmBot at the Mitchell Park Community Center, which will be used for community farming and education
  • Support for several new teams financially, and through mentorship, providing new LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 robotics kits to a FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team in rural India, and wifi hotspots for families through the Redwood City Library Foundation

BACKGROUND: The Space Cookies, Team 1868, was founded in 2006 as a partnership between NASA and the Girl Scouts to inspire and prepare the next generation of technology leaders. Today they are an award-winning team recognized at the local, national, and international levels for competitive robots, extensive outreach, and commitment to teaching every Space Cookie engineering and leadership skills. Team members participate in a wide range of training workshops developed and taught by Space Cookies, learning skills from robot design, programming, and fabrication, to finance, marketing, and communications. 100% of alumnae go on to college, where over 85 percent have pursued Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) majors.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: NASA Robotics Alliance Program (RAP)

POINT OF CONTACT: Ann Patterson-Hine, ann.patterson-hine@nasa.gov

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