The Incredibots are a legacy FLL team from Columbus, Ohio, USA that competed for 9 years with 2 generations of team members. They were honored to represent Ohio in 3 FLL World Festivals (winning the 1st Place Champions Award in 2016), 2 FLL Open European Championships (2nd Place Champions Award in 2014), and 2 FLL North American Open Championships. The team also participated in the FLL Global Innovation Awards (Grand Prize in 2016). In addition to competing, the team had fun teaching robotics to Central Ohio youth in local schools, science museums, scouting groups, and public events.
How did you come together as a team?
We are a neighborhood team of friends who grew up together and attended the same schools. As our older team members aged out, we brought in younger members who were also friends.
What did you do after FIRST LEGO League?
Our team is now retired. Many of our team members joined FTC or FRC teams in high school and went to college to study engineering. Other team members are now in high school and competing in the National Robotics Challenge (NRC).
What is one unique thing about your team?
Our team focused on creating strong FLL projects that could be further developed for STEM invention competitions during the post-season. As a result, our team members have been graciously awarded scholarships and grants that have helped them patent and keep developing their projects.
Which FIRST LEGO League season was your favorite, and why?
Our favorite FLL season was probably 2012 Senior Solutions, because that was the first time we got to experience the FLL Open European Championship (OEC), which was the most incredible and exciting tournament we had ever been to. We were one of only 3 teams from the USA, so it was truly an international event. The energy and noise level was beyond anything we had ever experienced, and it was the first time we got to participate in the head-to-head matches that the European tournaments used to determine the robot performance awards. They still had 3 robot rounds like in the US, but the best score was only used as a qualifier to advance to the final head-to-head matches. Amazingly, our team barely qualified into the last slot to advance to the quarter final rounds. We couldn’t believe it! We assumed that we’d be out in the first round though, since we couldn’t score as high as the other teams. But while we couldn’t score the highest, our robot could score consistently and reliably. And that’s what got us through each round…past the quarter finals, past the semi finals, and to everyone’s amazement (since we were the underdogs) - the big final round against China! It was crazy and loud, and teams were chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” for us. It was the first time an American team had ever made the robot finals at OEC, so it was beyond exciting. We ended up losing to China but still got 2nd place robot performance. Here’s a video of those final rounds: https://youtu.be/im3yPqfCmQs
Share one tip about your robot design process
Robustness and reliability is more important than being able to get the highest score.
Share one tip about the doing the research project
Make sure you cover all aspects of your project (all 360 degrees around), collect as much data (numbers) as you can to support your solution, and make sure your presentation is so clear that even a child can understand it.
Share one tip about Core Values
Your strongest team will have team members who are not only friends on the team, but also good friends outside the team.
What is something you wish you knew when you started out in FIRST LEGO League?
We wish we knew that preparing for the judging parts of FLL is far more important than the robot runs. You can get the highest robot score at a competition, but if your project is weak or your core values are lacking, then your team may not advance to the next competition. Our team spent more time practicing our presentations and Q&A than we did on our robot!