Liverbots Haimish MacKinnon, William Arnold, Jacob Shin and Jay Krishnan with prizes earned at the FIRST Lego League competition held on Nov. 10 in Dublin.

A local FIRST Lego League (FLL) team took home the Judges Award, advanced to the Championship tournament and was selected to advance to the Northern California FLL Innovation Expo to be held March 2020.

Dedication and hard work paid off for the Liverbots. A combination of robotics expertise and a detailed and relevant research project equipped them for a successful tournament at Quarry Lane School in Dublin on November 10. After a long day that included three rounds of robot competition and three rounds of judging (on their research project, robot design and teamwork skills), they were recognized with the three coveted awards, which included special recognition for their research project.

The theme for this year’s competition, City Shaper, inspired the Liverbots to investigate Livermore’s downtown redevelopment plans for their research project. The judges were impressed by the level of outreach that the team made within their community as part of their project. This included meeting with city government leadership, business owners, vintners, proponents of the Central Park Plan, and other experts.

The judges were even more impressed with the proposed solutions. First, the team perceived a community awareness gap concerning the redevelopment plans, which they subsequently confirmed by running a community survey.

“This is extremely worrying because there are two elections next year about the redevelopment plans,” said Liverbot Haimish Mackinnon. To address the problem, the team dedicated a page on their team website ( as a community resource to house an accurate, up-to-date comparison of the two plans proposed for downtown Livermore.

The second solution addresses downtown parking - the #1-ranked priority in a community outreach effort that earned national recognition for the city. The team developed an innovative, two-phase proposal, with parking apps and self-driving cars, that they feel “complements Livermore’s scientific community in a way that sets an example for other cities to follow,” said Liverbot Jay Krishnan.

The team website will have updates for both the redevelopment information and parking solutions as the team continues their research.

The team of 8th graders represent three different Livermore schools. Jay and Haimish attend Valley Montessori School, William Arnold attends King’s Classical Academy, and Jacob Shin attends Our Savior Lutheran School.

The Liverbots will continue to develop their research project and prepare for increasing levels of competition over the next few months.

Timing is perfect for the team and for Livermore since the Livermore citizens will vote on a downtown referendum on March 3, 2020, four days before the Innovation Expo.