NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- The rise in coyote sightings in the area inspired a New Canaan student to create an app that will help residents co-exist with the animals.
New Canaan Country School eighth-grader Arjun Dayal won top honors at two Westchester First LEGO League Competitions recently.
His team spent several months on robots to prepare for the competition and had to perform several challenges. One of these was to find a solution to a problem in the local community. This year's FLL theme was "Animal Allies."
They came up with a prototype of an app that would alert people of coyote sightings called “Coexisting Safely with Coyotes in the Urban Areas.”
“We chose coyotes as our project because they are local and affect our residents,” said Arjun.
Since the competition, Arjun has taken the lead on building the coyote sighting app using Xcode and Objective C, computer languages that he has taught himself.
The team recently met with the School Superintendent in Chappaqua, N.Y., to discuss the app and how to promote it within that community.
His team, Robochaps, took first place in four categories, robot performance, robot design, project idea and team core values at the Hudson Valley qualifying tournament Jan. 28 in Tarrytown.
This qualified the Robochaps to advance to the national FLL semi-finals.
There, they won first place in two of the four categories, just shy of what was need to qualify for the finals.
“It may sound strange, but I really like the chaos of robotics and problem solving,” said Arjun when asked what he enjoys most about robotics competitions.
“You have to push through until you get past a hurdle.”
Arjun credits his love of robotics to his sixth grade Country School teacher Mr. Fraser Randolph, who leads the Middle School robotics team.
“Through this club, my interest became a passion.”
“Arjun is a hard-working guy,” said Randolph “He puts a lot of time into his work and learns from his mistakes.