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November 30, 2010 > Eastin Incredibles

Eastin Incredibles

By Suzanne Ortt
Photos By courtesy of Subu Gupta

If you were at Irvington High School on November 20, you witnessed an amazing robotics competition. Sponsored by the FIRST Lego League, the organization's mission is promoting science and technology among youth worldwide. The tournament has two parts: the Robotic Game and the Project.

Seven fourth-graders from Eastin Elementary School in Union City took part: Mahika Gupta, Samay Mishra, Neyaz Siddiqui, Riya Arora, Kristina Kakadia, Viren Srivastava, and Anwesh Mohanty.

The genesis for joining the Challenge began when Samay, who wanted to be a member of the team, heard about it from his brother's friend. Simultaneously Riya's father learned of the competition and spread the word. With parental support, these students decided to enter the Challenge working four days a week after school on the planning and process; they evolved into a cohesive group named the Eastin Incredibles.

Building a robot from Legos was a beginning step. Next was programming the chip (the brain) of the robot. Annesh and Neya particularly liked the challenge of programming.

Part of the process was building a table according to contest standards. This was used for as an obstacle course. Viren liked working with the robot and watching its motions.

The theme for this year's tournament was the "Body Forward," involving biomedical engineering. The Eastin Incredibles chose amnesia as the research topic. Working online for information, the seven also met with Dr. Vineetha Singh, a neurointensivist at San Francisco General Hospital. She was impressed with the proposed device to help amnesia patients.

All decided to write a skit acting out three common types of amnesia: traumatic, hysterical, and retrograde. The troupe performed the skit in pairs.

Another task was the presentation board which Mahika worked on. The hardworking youths also included Kristina, Neya, and Samay.

The Eastin Incredibles said they were ready for the competition. Even though the team did not advance to the next round, these future scientists consider this a truly awesome experience.

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