This is a NXT prototype of our Consumer Fresh Milk Thermometer that measures the surface temperature of a carton or container. If the temperature is above 41 degrees (FDA maximum temperature for refrigerating milk) the consumer is given a warning sound & display with the temperature. If the temperature reads between 37 and 41 degrees, the temperature is displayed with a range of how long the milk will be fresh after the Sell By Date. If the temperature reads between 32 and 36 degrees, the temperature is displayed along with a range of how long the milk will be fresh after the Sell By Date. This is based on experiments we did refrigerating milk at different temperatures. (See the NXT-G program below.) The device would be compact, about the size of cell phone such as a Smartphone.
This was one of our innovations for our Research Project.
At the 2012 FIRST LEGO League Queens Qualifier the RoboGbots won the Champions Award 3rd place. When the awards were being handed out, our team was very nervous. We watched until there were only three awards left - The Champions Awards. They announced our team as winners of 3rd place; we were so exited! We are really looking forward to competing at the NYC FIRST Finals at the Javits Center in Manhattan.
On Sat. Dec. 10, 2011 we went to a practice tournament at PolyTechnic institute of NYU, Brooklyn, NY. When we arrived, due to the fact that they were running late we helped the committee set up the fields for the Robotic Performance. At this practice we only did the performance part of the competition, since we weren’t finished with the technical and research. We were supposed to run our robot four times, but due lack of time, we only went three times. During this great experience we learned some things and how to improve our robot. At the end of the day we were happy with our highest score 109.
Our team went on a field trip to The Entrepreneur’s Space, a commercial kitchen, in Brooklyn to see what safety measures are taken in handling their food and utensils. The kitchen was divided into three sections: kitchen A, B, and C. Kitchen A is for making pasta meals and other dishes. It consists of a grill and six burners. Kitchen B and C were the baking areas; here you can find a set of mixers and a sheeter. Sheeter is a type of machine that can make dough very thin by pressing it together between twp plates. After having a tour of the kitchen we went to another part of the kitchen where the chefs wash their hands and the dishes are cleaned. Here we were told to never towel dry anything because this can spread bacteria, instead you should leave the dishes and utensils out to air dry.
Since our research focuses on milk and its proper storage, our team asked about how the milk was stored. We were told that the milk is kept in a closed refrigeration system at 38 degrees Fahrenheit. We were curious to know how the chef could tell before using the milk, if the milk was spoiled. The chef responded by saying they always check the expiration date and by tasting it.
While at the kitchen we also received a lesson about bar-code scanning. We learned that bar-codes are used to help machines scan a product to find out information about that product. There are two different types of bar-codes. One type of bar coding is linear reading printed bars of different widths. The other type of bar-code is the QR this is the square bar-code.
This was a very beneficial trip from the standpoint of food safety and proper milk storage.
The roboGbots are getting ready for the NYC FIRST LEGO League tournaments. At our practices we do a lot of things. We build, and program robots for the Robot Game Performance. We also build attachments for the robots to help complete missions on field mat. We always try to find out ways to make our robot ant attachments better. Then we time ourselves; we only have two and a half minutes to complete as many missions possible. If the mission doesn’t work or if we fail, we fix the program, attachment, or robot.
We are also working on a Research Project about food safety; our topic is milk. Sometimes we go on field trips and go shopping for materials for out project.
Milk; in particular, cow’s milk is a large part of most American’s diet. Since it has become a staple in our diet, you the consumer, should know how to store it for the safest and most enjoyable consumption.
We (roboGbots) recommend that milk should be stored at a temperature of 39degrees Fahrenheit. NYC Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene states that “Milk shall be stored at a temperature below  41 degrees Fahrenheit, may not be kept beyond its expiration date, and may not be dispensed or served [by] to children except under adequate supervision.” According to the USDA, a “Danger Zone” is created when air around milk is between 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Under these warmer conditions, harmful bacteria can grow and reproduce in the milk. A good rule of thumb is to keep the air temperature two or more degrees lower than the recommended internal temperature to reduce the chance of bacterial contamination. For example, the internal temperature of non-frozen dairy products should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit, so the air temperature surrounding these products should be at least 39 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
As where to store milk, a good place would be on a shelf in the back of a refrigerator because the colder air circulates there. It will generally take longer for outside air to reach and subsequently increase the air temperature around the milk.
You may think, if refrigerating milk is good then is freezing better?
The answer is not necessarily, because refrigeration only slows down the growth of bacteria; it does not kill the bacteria. Freezing changes the state of the milk and after it defrosts, milk may or may not retain its original properties. According to the Diary Council of California, “it (milk) can be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator or in cold water and is safe for consumption. However, the flavor of the milk is affected, so it is generally not recommended. The milk protein becomes destabilized and you may see changes in the "texture" of the milk. However, it is still safe and wholesome."
Milk generally spoils a week from store expiration date (expiration is about two weeks from cow to you). Different types of milk: whole, skim, 1%, and 2% may exhibit different properties, which may impact the rate of spoilage.
We (roboGbots) have been examining and studying these specimens.
We took a field trip to the 169 Deli Grocery in Jamaica, NY to interview the owner of the store, Mr. Perez, about his way of storing milk. The milk at the 169 Deli Grocery is stored in a closed refrigerator rather than in an open refrigerator found in large supermarkets. This way the temperature of the store (particularly during the summer months) does not affect the refrigeration temperature of the milk. In comparing the coldest of the milk carton (by touch) in another store with open refrigeration, the milk carton from a closed refrigerator seems to be colder.
In New York State the temperature for storing milk should be 41 degrees Fahrenheit. At this deli the refrigeration temperature is kept between 32 degrees and 35 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the milk as fresh as possible. We asked the owner how many times a week the milk is delivered and he responded an astounding 3 times a week. The reason for so many deliveries is he doesn’t buy large qualities; therefore the milk is sold quickly, again guaranteeing freshness.
We asked him if he had any tips for consumers and he recommended freezing a portion of the milk if their family doesn’t drink it up quickly. We are going to investigate that idea further.
On 11/29/11 members of the Lego Robotics Girls Team, roboGbots, taught a group of little kids, 4 and 5 year olds, from the RoboMindTech Creative Play class about food safety - why they should wash their hands before preparing food and before eating.
First, the team members played a Yo Gaba Gaba video about eating all their food. Then they asked the kids questions about why they should wash their hands before fixing food and eating. They learned that there might be different bad germs and bacteria that might be on their hands, which they cannot see. Those germs and bacteria can get in their food and when they eat it, makes them sick.
Next, they gave out LEGO Duplo bricks that were shaped like soap and had the little kids wash pretend to wash their hands in a sink made of Lego, of course! Then each kid was given a base plate to represent a plate to build his or her LEGO food on. With LEGO elements the little kids made their favorite foods like sandwiches, French fries, apples, and carrots.
The kids had so much fun while learning about the importance of personal hygiene and food safety.
As a female FLL (FIRST LEGO League) coach for many years, it has been hard to get girls involved in robots on the middle school level (there tends to be more girls involved on the 4th and 5th grades than the 6th to 8th grades); the truth is, robotics and involvement in the FLL (the FTC and FRC even more so) is predominately boys.
Looking to the example of the Girl Scouts and the success of their FTC & FRC teams, all girl schools are forming FLL teams. roboGbots of Brics~2~Bots Academy and the RoboMindTech Center is an all girls FIRST LEGO League team working to compete in the NYC FIRST 2011-2012 regional. The girls come from varied cultural backgrounds, and attend public, private, or are home schooled. Besides competing, this girls team is a club to inspire girls to develop skills in robotic engineering to compete in future FIRST FTC & FRC teams (girls or co-ed); and to think about and plan for future careers. It is hoped that the skills they learn will make them competent contenders whether it be in the fields of science, engineering, technology, or even other careers.
This year’s, 2011-2012, FLL theme is Food Factor. Teams will be examining food safety issues. RoboGbots have chosen milk to research and will be presenting in this blog the results of their research and tips to consumers about milk and related information.