Team 1540: Building a roadmap to success

General Outreach Philosophy: 

As a driving force behind all of our outreach efforts, the Flaming Chickens believe that connection lies at the heart of all impact. Building personal connections with everyone involved in our outreach efforts allows Team 1540 to strive to make the world a better place. From developing engineering solutions for homeless communities in Portland, Oregon, to LEGO tutorials for educators and students around the globe, Team 1540 creates change through connecting with people and spreading our model for success.

Throughout our history, the Flaming Chickens have fostered a myriad of relationships, and through these connections lasting impact. By focusing on connections, the Flaming Chickens create events to maximize the FIRST experience, give back through community-focused engineering, spread the word about FIRST, and inspire the next generation of STEAM leaders. Understanding our community allows us to make a difference, and innovation drives us to set and accomplish our goals.

Making Fall Matter:


Linking Engineering and Philanthropy (LEAP) is an off season event for FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams designed to get students to apply their engineering skills to real-world problems in their communities. Over the course of a three month competition beginning in September, teams research, design, and prototype a solution to a given humanitarian problem provided by a partnering nonprofit. As FIRST likes to say, “It’s more than just robots.” 


The annual BunnyBots competition is a cornerstone of the FRC preseason for teams in the PNW. The Flaming Chickens believe that the best way to learn about a robot is to build a robot; BunnyBots provides a 12-week build season in the fall to help make FIRST more of a year-round activity. Learning necessary skills in the fall, when the stakes are lower and time more relaxed, is a great way to get ready for the heat of build season.  The result is a less chaotic build season with robots built more by students and less by mentors, with full participation by first-year members.  For many students, this is their first experience making a FRC-quality robot, and our team is no exception to the rule! Here are a few of examples of the robots we built for past BunnyBots competitions.

2018 Programming Contest

This year Catlin Gabel Students organized and ran a programming contest to support students interested in programing in the Oregon area expose programmers to FIRST.

Girls' Generation: 

Girl’s Generation is a FRC completion style event we founded and used to host that works to empower girls participating in FIRST.

Community Engineering:


WaterWand is an all-in-one mobile water quality monitoring system designed specifically for the nonprofit environmental organization, Surfrider. WaterWand provides an inexpensive and easy-to-use solution for water quality monitoring of oceans, lakes, and rivers. Using WaterWand, environmental nonprofits like Surfrider will be able to monitor the health of aquatic ecosystem, and take action in preserving local ecology and aquatic life.


WashPod provides off-the-grid and transportable laundry and shower facilities to the previously houseless population.


JuiceBox is an efficient and sustainable way to provide electricity t0 off-the-grid, portable pods for previously homeless people.

TheJuiceBox is of the winners of The Lexus Eco Challenge First Round, where we won $10,000! All winnings are going back to the effort and will be used to fund the creation and implementation of more JuiceBoxes. 

For more information, go to


AbleMail is an email client that works to remove the accessibility barriers that current email clients present for people with cognitive disabilities.


The JonApp is a task oriented app that supports individuals with cognitive or developmental disabilities. It helps them gain independence and become more efficient in the workplace. It was designed for Jon, an individual who works at Catlin Gabel organizing media equipment, and has cognitive disabilities.

     Water Trotter:

Water Trotter is a cost-efficient way to easily transport water in developing countries by using easy-to-get and accessible resources. The prototype transports water while purifying it as the wheel turns. Ultraviolet lamps powered by solar pannels are placed between the two tires to kill the microbes in the water. This is beneficial for clean drinking water, and also for bettering the cooking process to help make the water safer to consume.

For more information, go to



ScumBot was designed to fight the common problem of eutrophication, where an excessive amount of nutrients and demand for biological oxygen depletes resources in an ecosystem, therefore killing off life in the area

LostExhaust is a convenient carpooling solution for schools and businesses. LostExhaust takes advantage of the condensed living spaces of urban areas: that everyone is going to and from the same place. By connecting people with those who live near them and drive a similar route everyday, carpooling becomes a simple way to save time and fuel while helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions. Here is what the user interface looks like: 


To learn more about LostExhaust, contact the Catlin Gabel InventTeam via this link.

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          Portland Mini Maker Faire:

As part of our outreach efforts to expand the community and range of FIRST Robotics, Team 1540 oversees many demos and outreach events to talk about the opportunities and experiences provided by FIRST. Every year since 2012, Team 1540 students have presented our robot at OMSI's Mini Maker Faire or Maker Faire to spread STEM and FIRST to broader audiences. As a result of collaborating with FRC and FTC teams alike, presenting at Maker Faire gives Flaming Chickens the opportunity to work with regular competitors as colleagues, thus simultaneously furthering and expanding the FIRST community. 


          LEGO Events:

Team 1540 hosts two FLL qualifying tournaments on a single weekend in December every year. Around 40 teams compete, including Catlin’s FLL teams. Each day of competition, we set up and run practice tables, host a live video stream, and run the games. This event helps the team reach out to members of the community who are unaware of FIRST. Team 1540 members have explained to countless people what FIRST is, and will continue to do so in the future. During the day, we also give tours of our robotics lab, nicknamed “The Outback.” We explain what FRC is and our schedule for the six week build season. Many FLL students have been re-inspired by simply watching our robot drive and function.

To connect with students and teachers all over the world, we created online LEGO programming tutorials on our resource website, With over one million views, these tutorials have provided teachers around the world, regardless of their experience with robotics, with an effective teaching mechanism to inspire kids and introduce them to STEM.