WHEN Ben Jessett and Liam Stow started their Inventions Club as seven year olds, they could not have contemplated their love of technology would take them to the United States.
Now, teenagers Ben and Liam are the original founders of the IC Robotics team, winners of the national First Lego League Championship in Sydney.
Along with Ben's older brother Scott and their cousin Sam, and Liam's cousin Riley, the Knox boys are still shocked they will be able to share their love and knowledge of Lego at an international competition in St Louis, Missouri, next month.
The group meets weekly to practice Lego challenges for the competition, as well as construct a robot they will use to complete the challenges.
When Ben and Liam were in primary school, some of their inventions included helium balloon flying machines, long marble runs and mini catapults.
As its members grew older and developed more technical skills such as writing computer code and challenges involving chemistry and physics, the Inventions Club moved from the school yard to the home.
Six years on, when the boys heard about the Lego competition just one month beforehand, they recruited Scott, Sam and Riley to form IC Robotics, and began the process of building a robot.
Each year at the competition teams must solve a problem. This year's theme was 'senior solutions'.
The boys spoke to their grandparents about their concerns and found many felt isolated and lonely. They came up with the concept of a 'Companion Cube', a robotic companion to monitor and interact with lonely and isolated senior citizens.
Thanks to that concept and their proficiency at challenges, the group came third in the regionals competition last year.
At the national competition at Macquarie University in New South Wales, they failed to win any of the sub-categories. They sat there thinking it was all over, until IC Robotics was named as the overall winner.
"We couldn't believe it," Scott said. Their feat was particularly impressive because they were one of very few teams without any school backing, meaning they financed the projects themselves and could only practice outside school hours.
But it also means the team needs sponsors and donations to get to the USA.
The boys will compete against 70 international teams in St Louis and are excited to demonstrate their skills against people from America, Asia and Europe.
While their parents are keen to have a year off from the Lego competition, IC Robotics say they would love to enter again.
For information about sponsoring IC Robotics, visit versiontree.com/icrobotics/.