Congratulations to two DoD-sponsored FIRST Global Innovation Challenge Award Winners. Two DoD-sponsored teams received recognition and awards during the internationally televised FIRST Global Innovation Challenge Award Ceremony held on June 30, 2021. The two teams, FIRST Tech Challenge 16884 Mechanical Advantage and FIRST LEGO® League 2751 Lego Legion, were recognized during an exciting virtual ceremony featuring inspirational guest speakers, interactive trivia, and enthusiastic team profiles. Each team competed in four categories: problem identification, innovation impact, development process, and implementation.
San Diego’s Mechanical Advantage team was awarded the FIRST Tech Challenge Innovation Impact award for devising an app that encourages physical activity in autistic children. The award criteria called for developing a product that would tangibly improve life for its users.
Cincinnati’s Lego Legion team joined another team as runner-up of the overall FIRST LEGO® League Global Innovation Challenge with the SmartSteps System, which is a shoe insole equipped with sensors to aid patients recovering from lower-extremity injuries or surgeries.
All 60 semifinalists spent the three days before the award ceremony meeting with experts to learn about entrepreneurship, user experience design, marketing, and intellectual property while also building community through social events and networking opportunities. Teams received valuable mentorship in developing their sales pitch. During this interactive, online-learning experience, team innovations were judged remotely by hundreds of volunteers from the community and sponsor representatives. Teams shared prototype videos and demonstrated how their projects work while sharing development stories from a virtual pit space.
The Global Innovation Challenge began 11 years ago with FIRST LEGO® League. During the pandemic, when many teams were forced to work remotely, the challenge was extended to FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition. The DoD is honored to sponsor these young innovators!
To learn more about FIRST, visit https://www.firstinspires.org. For more information about the FIRST Virtual Global Innovation Awards, visit https://info.firstinspires.org/global-innovation. Additional details about DoD STEM/DSEC partners can be found at https://dodstem.us/about/partners.