Wahluke students solve problem, create language app

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Left to right, the WJH team was made up of Mark Magdaleno, Noe Martinez, Yoseline Orozco Cardoso, Kevin Gomez and Brayan Santiago.

MATTAWA – Competing in the First Lego League regional challenge in Spokane on Dec. 7, students from Wahluke Junior High School developed an app that will take voice, text, or graphics communications and translate them to speech or text of a different language.

This was Wahluke's second year. The team members developed multiple aspects of presentation and design for the entire spectrum of the competition in hopes of being a competitive team for 2014-15 season.

“Kevin Gomez, Brayan Rene Santiago, Yoseline Orozco Cardoso, and Noe Martinez and I had a good time,” seventh grade student Mark Magdaleno. “People have a problem in our community. Lots of them speak only Spanish or only English.”

The students came up with the idea of making an app called Ultra-Translator Pro. With the app you can take a picture of a text, or you can talk to the app and have it repeat in a different language. You can also take a picture of an object, and the app will tell you what the object is.

Last year, WJH received the FLL Judges Award. This recognition is reserved for teams that have shown promise in their efforts taking on the challenge as a rookie team. It was given to only one of the 30 teams that competed in the Central Washington Qualifier.

The teams at Spokane were judged in three categories, Core Values, Robot Design, and a Project Presentation.

FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) emphasizes two Core Values, Gracious Professionalism and Cooperation. This boiled down to doing your best and helping others do their best while looking for teamwork while competing.

Robot Design is the building of a functioning autonomous robot that will complete missions that represent real life problems. The third portion, Presentation, involves taking the theme and developing an innovative solution to a stated problem.

This year’s theme, World Class Education, revolves around using technology, human resources, and multiple formats of communication to learn from others.

The Robot Race portion of the meet gets a lot of attention. This is a timed event in which the designed robots compete against the clock and play head-to-head with other preprogrammed robots.

For the project portion of the competition, Wahluke Junior High students chose to address the communication gaps between different languages.

“Overall, the students had a great time and learned many things about teamwork and the use of technology,” advisor Arthur Morken said.

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