Robots of the Hidden Temple: An Adventure in Engineering
Ancient artifacts coupled with innovative, high-speed, highly agile robotic vehicles sounds like a clash of ideas—but instead it makes for a challenging, adrenalin-packed competition. With the challenge to navigate the catacombs of the hidden temple, secure lost artifacts protected by temple guards and prove themselves against competing artifact hunters this competition was no small feat.
These fearless adventurers were more than 200 students from 10 Central Florida high schools who accepted the challenge of the “Robots of the Hidden Temple” robotics design challenge sponsored by Lockheed Martin as a part of National Engineers Week.
National Engineers Week
Each year, Lockheed Martin engineers celebrate National Engineers Week by sharing their passion for engineering with local students to encourage their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Success depends on collaboration among industry, educators, policy makers and families. As an industry leader, Lockheed Martin is committed to working with these groups to develop programs that educate and inspire tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
For seven weeks, students engaged in hands-on, team-oriented activities aimed at meeting requirements, managing constraints and sharing knowledge, all of which are essential skills in engineering disciplines. The “Robots of the Hidden Temple” was a robotics design challenge developed by Lockheed Martin engineers to excite and inspire the students to engage in hands-on STEM activities.
“Robots of the Hidden Temple”
On Thursday, Feb. 20, the 24 student teams gathered at Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Fla., for the robotics trials in the ancient temple. Apopka, Boone, Dr. Phillips, Edgewater, Freedom, Lake Highland Preparatory, Oak Ridge, Ocoee, Osceola and Olympia High Schools all came to go head-to-head in a robot trial based on the popular Orlando-produced Nickelodeon game show from the 90s – “Legends of the Hidden Temple.”
Like the show, the design course—or temple—had obstacles that the teams had to overcome, many rooms with different ways to collect artifacts, multiple routes and an omnipresent “Temple Guard”—Olmec—who can change a team’s fate at any time.
To demonstrate their engineering prowess, the students put their robots to the test, navigating a complex course and overcoming obstacles like tight turns, ramps, rotating platforms, while collecting artifacts—foam balls—that had assigned point values to determine the winning team. Each team also shared the course with three other robots at a time, so there was an added challenge of another team stealing valued artifacts.
At the beginning of the seven-week design and build phase, students were provided a full course rulebook and Lockheed Martin Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP) mentors to guide them throughout the design process. It was up to them to design, build and test their robots while developing a course strategy for the competition trials.
Another critical element of the Robotics Design Challenge was providing students with a unique and stimulating experience that would give them a taste of what a career in a STEM field would really be like.
On the final competition day, the teams and their robots endured numerous preliminary trials before advancing to the final trial. In the end, it was Apopka High School Team 2 who climbed their way to the top of the temple ruins to claim their victory. The underdogs from Dr. Phillips High School Team 3, an all-freshman team competing in a robotics design challenge for the first time, claimed the “Most Innovative” title.
The world is facing complex challenges that call for innovation with purpose—innovations that help defend global security, push the boundaries of scientific discovery and deliver essential services to citizens around the globe. In the field of robotics, opportunity is endless and discovery is ongoing. Our robotic innovations could represent the answer to any number of challenges—from disaster response to deep space exploration.
Robotics is a great introduction to engineering because students develop their own vehicle to solve specific problems within real constraints on a tight schedule. It is one thing to hear about engineering as a career, but this provides a way to incite passion with a student at an event like this and get them thinking about a career in the STEM field.
- Lockheed Martin ELDP’s volunteered 500+/750 hours to mentor the high school students during the 7-week design and build phase
- 10 Central Florida High Schools (200 students) participated in the Lockheed Martin Robotics Design Challenge
- In the end, it was Apopka High School Team 2 who climbed their way to victory, with Dr. Phillips High School Team 3 claiming the “Most Innovative” title