Prosthetic Patent Wins Inaugural Global Innovation Award

Geek Culture

A group of Girl Scouts from Iowa have risen to the top of the competition and been crowned the winners of the inaugural FIRST Lego League Global Innovations Award. The contest, presented by FLL and X Prize, asked FLL teams to develop innovative solutions for real-world problems.

The winning team, called the Flying Monkeys, created BOB-1, a cost-effective, multi-functional prosthetic hand device that enables users with limb abnormalities to hold, grip and secure items. The Flying Monkeys’ project involved a good deal of research and experimentation before developing their design, which has been field tested with great success. The girls will be awarded a prize of up to $20,000 from the X Prize Foundation to apply toward patenting their invention.

“The winning team’s working prototype, which is already improving the life of a young child, proves that FIRST participants are making the world a better place with their creative problem-solving skills,” said President of DEKA Research & Development and FIRST Founder Dean Kamen.

Competition was tough in this inaugural contest with 179 patent submissions coming from FLL teams. In the first round of voting, nearly 400,000 votes were cast from people in 145 countries. Runner up teams were the 4th Motor with an idea for non-invasive glucose monitoring in childhood diabetes and Blue Gear Ticks whose submission considered an unfurling stent for children with congenital heart defects. Submissions were based on the 2010 Body Forward Challenge.

“It is wonderful to see hundreds of children submitting ideas to the Global Innovation Award, all of whom aim to improve the lives of others,” said Chairman and CEO of the X Prize Foundation Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. “We are proud to be cultivating the innovation process at the earliest stages, and we are honored to support the winning team.”

To learn more about FIRST Lego League, visit the US FIRST Web site.

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