Congratulations! BananaBots Qualified for the North NJ FLL Championship

by Coach Cindy

November 21 2018 Competitions


On December 17th, BananaBots participated in the FLL qualifying tournament and brought home the Programming Award, along with the advancement to the North NJ Regional FLL Championship scheduled on December 8th and 9th at Mount Olive High School.

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On November 17th, Bridgewater-based BananaBots Robotics Club participated in First Lego League (FLL) qualifying tournament held at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School. As a result of their excellent performance, the team brought home Robot Programming Award. They were also selected to advance to North NJ Regional FLL Championship, scheduled on December 8th and 9th at Mount Olive High School.

A popular international robotics competition for students ages 9 to 14, FLL has over 29,000 participating teams worldwide. FLL teams conduct research on a scientific topic, and design/program LEGO Mindstorms robots to complete many tasks in the robotics challenge.

BananaBots was formed in 2017 as a 4-H robotics club. Its members, most of whom are BRMS students, meet regularly to hone their skills in robotics, programming, research and teamwork under the guidance of the club's teen coach, Ethan Wu, a junior in BRHS and an expert in robotics. The club members are: Andy Cheng, Tony Lu, Rohan Dugad, Rohan Dham, Alex Hu, Peter Lin, Jerry Liu, Jeffrey Wen and Ryan Wen.

This year, to prepare their space-related Into Orbit project, the team did a considerable amount of research with the focus on growing plants in space, in order to produce food and oxygen for astronauts, and purify waste water. To demonstrate their solutions, the team built a physical prototype that used 3D-printed planters and an Arduino/LED platform that provides controlled lighting.

During the technical interview on the competition day, BananaBots impressed FLL judges with their advanced programming features such as MyBlocks that significantly simplified coding by reusing predefined functions throughout the entire program. On the robotics competition field, they performed well despite some unexpected interference. Countless hours of building, coding, testing and debugging paid off, the team ranked 3rd place in robotics game among 24 participating teams.

The biggest reward for the team, though, is the valuable experience of working together as a team. BananaBots elected their own team captain and area leaders to manage work flows and activities for the competition. They did all the work on their own under high-level guidance from coaches. “I've had so much fun working with my buddies,” said one excited team member. The parents were also delighted to see them grow as a team: “We were so happy to see that these kids showed respect to each other even when they didn't agree on certain things. That meant more than just winning the game.”

This is the second year that BananaBots participated in FLL challenges. In 2017 the team won the Project Innovative Solution Award for their creative design to reduce the lead level in school drinking water. To learn more about the club, please visit:

Big Congratulations to BananaBots!

About the author

Coach Cindy - BananaBots head coach

Cindy has years of experience in IT and project management. As the lead supervisor of BananaBots, she hopes that, one day, the younger generation will show their true power through their efforts and persistence.

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