Packer Robotics Team brings home two Research Awards!

This past Saturday, four Packer Robotics teams competed at NYU Poly (in downtown Brooklyn) in a borough qualifier tournament against 44 teams from across Brooklyn.

We earned two awards in research, which qualifies two teams to advance to the city-wide tournament against 80 teams from across all five boroughs at the Jacob Javits Center on Saturday, March 9th.

The teams meet once a week for 90 minutes to compete in four competition domains:

1. A research project based on a real-world problem connected to the tournament’s theme.
2. A robot game obstacle course, where a robot of their design must complete up to 14 challenges in 2 1/2 minutes.
3. A technical presentation on the robot design and programming.
4. Teamwork – showing “coopertition” and “gracious professionalism” throughout the tournament day, as well as in a closed door teamwork challenge and Q&A session.

This year’s theme is “Senior Solutions'” and teams are challenged to look at innovative ways to make our aging population’s lives easier and more healthy.

The Middle School Robotics team, The Bearded Bobs earned the “Innovation” award in research. The team partnered with Ben Difilippi’s grandmother and her caregivers to determine the many challenges they face with helping her lead an independent life at home. They created an app that can help make the communication connection between elders living at home and their caregivers more seamless. They¬† shared their research with a senior center and there is potential to make this app an actual product! Stay tuned for updates on the future development of this innovative idea from the great minds of our middle school team.

The Bearded Bobs team is led by 8th grader Ben Difillippi, and mentored by Roman Usatin.

The Bearded Bobs:

  • Eli Harrell (5)
  • Alexander Hermer (5)
  • Jack Pilson (5)
  • Sebastian Allais (5)
  • Armand Melk-Johnson (5)
  • Charlie Dalton (6)
  • Carter Weaver (5)
  • Ben DiFilippi (8)
  • Isaac Aguilar (7)
  • Alexi Judge (5)

The third grade boy’s team, Grandpa Bob’s Whippersnappers, won the “Presentation” award for their research on how Parkinson’s disease can be debilitating to an aging senior. Those of you who witnessed a preview of their research presentation at a Lower School assembly before break can attest to their depth of knowledge on the topic and their confidence when presenting their ideas. The boys partnered with their coach’s mother, Mrs. W., who suffers from Parkinson’s. They are developing a robot helper to assist her with everyday tasks. The judges not only honored their presentation style, but also commented on their infectious enthusiasm and support for one another.


The GBW team is coached by Maureen Reilly and 9th grader Jared Chan.

Grandpa Bob’s Whippersnappers:

  • Matthew Kodsi (3)
  • Alexander Bourtin (3)
  • Andrew McKnight (3)
  • Sam Donohoe (3)
  • Joseph French (3)
  • James Perlmutter (3)
  • Jake Schlein (3)
  • Cole McBeth (3)
  • Benjamin Grossman (3)
  • Owen Olivier-Carter (3)
  • Edward Coe (3)
  • Isaac Hinton (3)

Packer Robotics also had its first all girls robotics team, The Super Silly Senior Savers, with students from all three divisions making up the team. The judges at the event recognized their dedicated teamwork and knowledge of their robot’s strengths and the parts of their construction and programming that need to be improved upon. They also recognized the quality of research that went into their project on seniors having difficulty with transitioning from one place to another and the risk of injuries that happen if seniors fall. The girls demonstrated great enthusiasm, support for one another, and sportsmanship.

The Super Silly Senior Savers team is coached by Mollie Yacano (12) and Lily Fishleder (12), and mentored by Roman Usatin and Maureen Reilly

Super Silly Senior Savers

  • Avery Fingleton (5)
  • Lola Fortune (3)
  • Whitney Miller (3)
  • Avery Russell (3)
  • Lily Bradshaw (5)
  • Dylan Kelleher (3)
  • Ruby Jeanne Harris (5)
  • Madeleine Penalver (4)
  • Abby Penalver (3)

Lastly, the 4th grade boys team, The Age Agents, partnered with Ms. Turner, who had many helpful suggestions for researching problems of the elderly. The team decided to focus on the problem of seniors forgetting to take their medications. They designed a robot which they named the Portable Pill Reminder. It helps to remind seniors when to take their medications and in the correct dosages. The judges recognized that the boys did an exemplary job in researching other devices that do the same job, and in making improvements to their own invention.

The Age Agents team is coached by Chris Kavanaugh, and 10th graders Jasen Chan and Will Merrill.
The Age Agents

  • John Benson (4)
  • Sam Davidson (4)
  • Henry Baird (4)
  • Elliott Chang (4)
  • Joe Tramontin (4)
  • Nolan Casey (4)
  • John Wallace (4)
  • Luke Leicht (4)

Here are some pictures from the tournament!



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