By Maddy VitaleA group of local middle school students who formed their own robotics club are taking their talents to another galaxy.Well, no. But they are heading to Louisville, Ky., for the VEX Robotics World Championship competition at the end of April.The Linbots, aptly named since four of the five members live in Linwood, won the “Middle School Excellence Award,” beating out another middle school at a Feb. 23 state competition in Cherry Hill.The kids set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds to purchase parts for the robots and pay for competition registrations.To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/worlds-funding-linbots-nj-vex-robotics-2019Team Linbots from left, Alex Savov and his sister, Emma, Farley O’Brien and Nate Fontana all share a moment after their state win. (Courtesy the O’Briens)Emma Savov, 14, her brother, Alex, 11, and Farley O’Brien, 13, all of Linwood, and Nate Fontana, 13, of Somers Point, worked together over the last year to create a robot that they use in competitions. The robot is called 92018A, named for the date the team started building the robot.The world competition that the team has been preparing for entails several tasks, including guiding a robot down platforms, around a course and everything from balls and plastic caps are maneuvered by the kid-made machines. Judges score the teams. According to the VEX Robotics website www.vexrobotics.com it is the largest and fastest growing middle school and high school robotics program globally with more than 20,000 teams from 50 countries playing in over 1,700 competitions worldwide. Each year, an engineering challenge is presented in the form of a game.Specifically, the Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally, the website states. Here is a Feb. 15 demonstration of the Linbots robot:Linbots won three competitions over the past year. The last one led them to qualify for the world competition. They will join other middle and high school-age students for fierce, but friendly competition. The competition is designed to showcases the young talents and their knack for engineering, problem solving and collaboration, the website states. Nate, Farley, Alex and Emma, explained their love of engineering and science and the robotics team.Nate, who wants to be an aerospace engineer, said of the experience, “I am happy that everything went well at the competition on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to representing the state in the world competition.”Farley, whose parents, Liz and Kevin O’Brien, are engineers, said she may want to pursue engineering or writing. She called the Linbots’ experience incredible. “It has been a great journey and it’s so incredible that we’ve made it this far,” Farley said. “It is amazing to see what a group of friends can do when they work hard at something.”Emma, who likes the design aspect of robotics the most, said she hopes the Linbots inspire other young people.“We would like to inspire young people in our community through innovation, perseverance, and teamwork,” she said. Alex, who hopes to become a marine scientist, said the experience has been challenging at times, but worth it.“It has been a challenging experience figuring out how everything works,” he noted. “We did not have all the answers, but working well together as a team and spending long hours paid off.” They all said they like working together to create projects . They learn from each other since they all have specific strengths.For the Linbots, who created their own team because their schools did not have one, arriving at the world championship has a particular significance. Not only did they excel amongst children their own age, but also against students in high school. Here is the VEX Robotics demonstration of world competition: Team Linbots work together Feb. 15 to make sure their robot is ready for a competition. From left, Alex Savov, Nate Fontana, Farley O’Brien and Emma Savov.