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Mad Scientists from Orleans win award at UR competition

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2016 at 11:38 am

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Provided photos

ROCHESTER – Members of the Mad Scientists, a First Lego League team from Orleans County, are happy on Sunday after the team won the research award for top project among the 147 teams in the Finger Lakes region.

The Mad Scientists include, from left: Zachary Neal, Deegan Bragg, coach Erik Seielstad, Aiden Miller, coach Marlene Seielstad, Emma Foote, Bryce Wilson and Josh Bovenzi.

The Mad Scientists are one of three Lego teams from Orleans County in the 4-H program. The Mad Scientists advanced to Sunday’s championship finals, featuring the 40 top teams in the region.

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Aiden Miller holds the trophy for the research award. In winning the award, the Mad Scientists developed a prosthetic leg for a dog.

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In creating the prosthetic, the team used CAD to design a prosthetic and then made one with a 3-D printer. The design can easily be modified depending on the size of a dog.

The team was motiviated to create a prosthetic after hearing about a three-legged dog at the Olde Dogge Inn in Albion. The dog was from Puerto Rico but was receiving care and love at the Olde Dogge Inn so he could be adopted to a family. The dog visited the 4-H Team and tried the prosthetic, which seems to work for the dog named Bary.

The prosthetic can be made for $15 with a 3-D printer, compared to buying a customized one from a company for $400 to $600, Mrs. Seielstad said.

The team has been meeting three times a week for about three months. George McKenna, a veterinarian in Barre, also met with the team and had advice on how to size the prosthetic. (Dogs might lose a leg due to cancer, being hit by a car, nerve damage or a birth defect.)

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The team gets its robot ready to complete different tasks. Team members programmed the robot to use different attachments to for challenges on the course. The Lego program is open to students in grades 4 through 8.

The program started five years ago in orleans County. Sunday was the first time an Orleans team won one of the major awards in the finals.

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