SVSD students design pedestrian safety robot in state competition

The FyreBots competed in the First Lego League state level competition Jan. 26.

A Snoqualmie Valley School district robotics team, the FyreBots, competed in the First Lego League (FLL) state level competition on Sunday, Jan. 26.

The team included Abhiram Kadavakollu (a sixth grader at Snoqualmie Middle School), Zunairah Karim (a sixth grader at Chief Kanim Middle school), and fifth graders in the STREAM program at Snoqualmie Elementary Krish Selvan, Shuja Karim and Vadanshi Rahul.

The FLL is an accessible, guided, global robotics competition that helps students and teachers build a better future together. The program is built around theme-based challenges to engage children ages 9-16 in research, problem-solving, coding and engineering, according to the First Lego League website.

This year’s competition theme was City Shaper. The team spent six months studying and learning about current problems faced by cities, including buildings, public spaces, transportation, and the impacts of natural disasters and pollution. They interviewed several professionals — including Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, Issaquah Mayor Mary Lou Pauly, Meghan Hall from the Federal Highway Administration, engineer Karen Power with Puget Sound Energy, and program director Kim Owen of the Seattle Architectural Building — for research and data collection.

Due to increasing pedestrian injuries around the world, the team chose pedestrian safety as a final topic. The innovative solution they developed, called “The Fyre Walk —Keeping You Safe Today,” won the project presentation award in the qualifier round, before the team advanced to semi-finals and then the final statewide competition.

The FyreBots presented a design for pedestrian crossing to the Snoqualmie City Council. They highlighted their Fyre Walk design as a cost-effective robotic solution, intended to help save pedestrian lives — especially where weather can be foggy and rainy.

Krish Selvan explained how the pedestrian crossing project works to the city council.

“A hologram will pop up from the ground while the pedestrian is walking. That will be really nice and visible especially in rainy and foggy weather,” he said. “We also use blinking lights that are underneath the roads that will also alert the drivers. Speakers will also blare out ‘pedestrian crossing’ or something like that. We also have high-intensity laser lights.”

Mayor Matt Larson said he was impressed by the team.

“I’ve just got to say how I’m impressed by these guys. I had conversations close to an hour about all kinds of city infrastructure challenges and the issues we have in terms of budgets and finding durability on infrastructure,” he said. “Thanks for coming, and it was pretty cool to learn about your project.”

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