FedEx Innovation Challenges

Each month, FedEx posts a series of challenges for FIRST robotics teams to complete. This may be things like take a themed photo, make a certain video, or solve a math/science problem. Each team’s entries are submitted through social media and the contest winner is selected at the end of the month. This month’s grand prize is a VIP, all-expenses-paid trip to the FIRST World Festival in St. Louis, Missouri.

With one of our coaches out of commission and the other out of the country, we decided to take a shot at this month’s challenges.

CHALLENGE 1: create a video explaining your team’s story in 60 seconds.

We spent several days brainstorming a creative video to briefly describe our team. When we wanted to try something new, our team mom suggested making a stop-motion animation video. She taught a few of us how to use our camera and set up the perfect shot using a tripod. Meanwhile, Nancy looked up how to make a stop-motion video using iMovie. We spent about 20 minutes throwing together a test video (click here).

Once the script was written and the entire video was planned out, we got to work. It took us about two hours to take roughly 350 photos. We then uploaded everything into iMovie and put together the silent first draft.

After confirming sequence length and other visual details, we recorded narrations directly into the editing program and adjusted them as necessary. The final touch were the sound effects (which we had a lot of fun finding and creating). Video below.

CHALLENGE 2: post something on social media and make it “go viral”.

The more likes or retweets on a photo, the more points a team earned. We decided to make a post on Instagram showing how we were using our robot during the offseason. (below)

We ended the month with 47 “likes” and a comment from FedEx, which made us very excited:

CHALLENGE 3: solve a riddle with a 30 second video explaining your answer.

The riddle was a difficult one:

“SenseAwareSM is an advanced shipping device developed by FedEx that allows you to monitor a package’s location, temperature, light exposure, relative humidity and barometric pressure in real time.

Two scientists recently shipped an important elemental ingredient to a colleague in Antarctica. The package has arrived and is waiting on their colleague’s doorstep. Every few minutes, Scientist A and Scientist B sit down at their computers and check the status of their SenseAwareSM shipment. Scientist A must then write the reported Fahrenheit temperature of the package on a large white board in the lab. Then, Scientist B must approach the board and write the Celsius conversion of the temperature next to it. The most recent temperature reading is written, “26.6 ; -3”.

After a short lunch break, both scientists return to their labs and sit down at their computers to check the status of their valuable shipment one final time. Scientist A checks the temperature, and begins to panic, shouting words we cannot print here. She runs over to the board and writes down a temperature reading in Fahrenheit and storms out of the room. Scientist B, bewildered and concerned, approaches the white board to make her conversion. Strangely, Scientist B puts down her marker without writing a thing, and quickly leaves the lab to find her colleague.

With only this information, determine what mysterious value was written on the board, and what they were shipping. Post your answer in the form of a video (30 seconds or less)!”

We first came up with -40 as the Farenheit/Celcius value that was written on the board. Since -40 means the same temperature for both, the second scientist didn’t need to convert it to the other unit of measurement.

After consulting with several science teachers, one suggested that the mystery element was Mercury. After doing some research, we confirmed that this could be the answer (since its freezing/melting point is about -40).

Once we had both of these answers, Nancy and Rose spent about an hour filming clips to put together a video re-enacting the riddle and showing our answer. Rose and Amelie then spent another hour editing it and putting in hilarious sound effects. Finished video below.

CHALLENGE 4: take a photo showing how your robot is transported to competition.

After a lot more brainstorming, we finished off the contest with this amazing photo (taken by the team mom):

Then, to our excitement, FedEx commented again on the photo:

The contest deadline is today and FedEx will post the winner in a few days. Crossing our fingers…

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