Bionicles win coveted Inspire Award for robotics

By Jacqui Nickell

On Saturday, March 6, the Lakehill Bionicles Robotics team competed virtually in their first qualifying match of the year, hosted by Aledo High School. The day was spent completing the judged portion of the competition. The team submitted a 15-page Engineering Portfolio that contains an overview of their design process. 

Photo courtesy of Lakehill Preparatory School

They also gave a five-minute presentation to judges and completed a question and answer session. In the afternoon, several groups of judges “stopped by” the team’s breakout room to ask further questions about the development and design of the robot. 

The following Thursday, the team completed their six game matches which were submitted live via a cloud-based scoring system. The team did extremely well in their matches, with a high score of 94.

The results of the week’s competition were released on March 15. The team made a strong showing in the scored portion of the competition, placing sixth out of the 20 teams that registered. The team also placed in three different awards. Vhisola’s dragon design impressed the judges, and the Bionicles got second place in the Design Award. 

The Design Award “recognizes design elements of the robot that are both functional and aesthetic. It is presented to teams that incorporate industrial design elements into their solution. 

The design could simplify the robot’s appearance by giving it a clean look, be decorative in nature, or otherwise express the creativity of the team. The robot should be durable, efficiently designed and effectively address the game challenge.” 

The team also placed second in the Think Award, which “is given to the team that best reflects the journey the team took as they experienced the engineering design process during the build season. The Engineering Portfolio should include descriptions of the underlying science and mathematics of the robot design and game strategies, the designs, redesigns, successes and opportunities for improvement.”

As a result of placing or being considered for multiple awards, the Lakehill Bionicles won first place in the coveted Inspire Award. The winner of the Inspire Award gets the first advancement spot to the North Texas Regional Championship. 

The Inspire Award is given to the team that “best embodies the ‘challenge’ of the FIRST Tech Challenge program. The team that receives this award is a strong ambassador for FIRST programs and a role model FIRST team. This team is a top contender for many other judged awards and is a gracious competitor. Working as a unit, this team will have shown success in performing the task of designing and building a robot.” 

The Lakehill Bionicles will have one more qualifying event before they compete in the North Texas Regional Championship in late May. Congratulations Lakehill Bionicles!