The FIRST LEGO League… Helping to Build a Better Band

IMG_7724The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Robotics team at Carrollton Junior High School has completed a remarkable project that will allow a fellow CJHS classmate, Abby Richards, who is challenged with blindness and upper body weakness, to pursue her dream of marching with the Carrollton High School Marching Band next year. The team, which is composed of Will Brown, Thomas Harris, Barak Kizunga, Reese Lawrence, Chase McDaniel, PJ Sanders, Thomas Svegl, Alice Szymkiewicz, Kendall Ussery, Mckenna Walker, and coaches Luke Young, Meredith Harris and Jason Svegl, was challenged with the mission to create a solution that would help someone learn. The result was “The BEAT” which stands for “Band for Everyone Accessibility Tool.”

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 10.09.52 PM

FLL team members Alice Szymkiewicz and Kendall Ussery demonstrates “The BEAT” harness.

The device is a harness that assists Abby in holding her trumpet so that she has a free hand to be guided around the marching field by an assistant. Another amazing aspect of the project is a video game controller that was reconfigured to transmit a vibration to the device allowing her to feel tempo changes from the conductor. Abby and her family have been overwhelmed by the team’s ingenuity, energy and determination in devising a real-world solution to enable her to realize her goals of fully participating in high school band activities. The team’s efforts have not gone unnoticed by other band programs either as they have received interest in the device from band directors at Louisiana State University and Ohio State University.

The BEAT device garnered the team fourth place overall in a regional event last month in Griffin, GA, earning them a chance to present their project in the super-regional competition this weekend in Columbus, Ga. Those associated with the Carrollton Band Programs appreciate the FLL team’s commitment to excellence in assisting band member Abby Richards and congratulates them on their success, as well as wishes them continued success at future competitions.