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ROBOTMAK3RS Halloween Contest Winners

Every quarter, the ROBOTMAK3RS Community sponsors a contest. Our goal is to inspire our group members to build and program using one or more of the LEGO robotics sets. Our RLOC members carefully examine all entries and select the winners based on many factors including creativity, complexity, use of sensor input and more.

At the end of 2020, the ROBOTMAK3RS community ran a Halloween-themed contest. The winners of the contest were Vatsal Sharda (under 18) and Patrik and Simon Dober (over 18). Finalists included: Ahmad Sahar, Lukasz Brodowski, Fashkarten Inf and Jon Lazar.

In this blog, we highlight the excellent work of our youth winner to help inspire the next generation of ROBOTMAK3RS.

Vatsal Sharda is a ten-year old from Houston, Texas. He has been building and programming with MINDSTORMS since he was seven. In addition to his winning project, Vatsal has made many MINDSTORMS robots including 
EV3RSTORM, EV3 R3PTAR, EV3 Puppy, EV3 Printer, EV3 Boat and EV3 Color Sorter. Vatsal is also on a FIRST LEGO League Challenge team. Vatsal loves making toys with LEGO. Visit his YouTube Channel to see his projects. It took him four days to build and program his winning robot, Candy Dispenser.

Let's learn a bit more about his project and a bit more about him.

What inspired you to make this project? 

I follow JK Brickworks and as soon as I saw this contest from the RobotMak3rs, I remembered his candy shooter robot and that inspired me to make this. Due to COVID, I wanted to make it touchless and still give kids an option to select the candy of their choice. 

How does your robot work? 

The Candy Dispenser Robot has been designed to dispense the candies without touching the machine and provides an option to choose between Hershey's and KitKat. Each Candy slot can hold up to 4 candies, so 8 candies in total. The robot waits for a hand in front of the color sensor and stores the value. Then, when a bag is placed in front of the infrared sensor, the large motors rotate. Candy Sliders have been attached to the large motors and it pushes the candies out into the bag. I used 2 Large Motors, 2 Color Sensors and 1 Infrared Sensor. Color Sensors are used to select the candies, Infrared sensor is to detect the candy bag and Large Motors are used to dispense the candies.

Watch the video to see his robot in action.

What was something you found the most challenging about this design?  

Hershey’s and KitKat's are different size candies and hence the machine was dispensing 2 Hershey’s instead of 1. Then I made the gap to dispense the Hershey’s shorter by using 1 × 2 Lego Technic lift arm instead of 1 × 3 Lego Technic lift arm and that worked.

What advice do you have for other children trying to build a LEGO robot without instructions? 

Put your ideas on paper before you start building, use your creativity and build the robot and remember to keep improving it.

Is there anyone who inspires you or has influenced you in your robot building? 

I am inspired by JK Brickworks, Seshan Brothers, Yoshihito Isogawa, and also my friend Siddharth Agarwala.

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