DoD STEM is proud to support the inaugural FIRST Virtual Global Innovation Awards on June 30th, 2021, when the FIRST community will shine a spotlight on 20 finalist teams from the following FIRST programs: FIRST LEGO® League (FLL), FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), and FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FIRST is a partner of the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC), supported by DoD STEM.
Finalists will present their research and inventions to virtual attendees, including key industry leaders. Please join us in congratulating these young innovators who are improving our world while having fun! Viewers can see some amazing inventions by registering at https://info.firstinspires.org/global-innovation and then tuning into FIRSTtv on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. ET.
During an exceptionally challenging 2020–2021 season that forced organizers and participants to pivot to virtual and hybrid event formats in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 1,300 out of 1,600 teams sponsored by DoD STEM participated in activities and events. This year, the philanthropic Star Wars: Force for Change organization has teamed up with FIRST to inspire, celebrate and award prizes to the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. The following is a snapshot of three finalist teams:
|FIRST LEGO® League Team 2751, Lego Legion, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, has designed a shoe insole equipped with sensors measuring how much weight a foot is bearing to aid patients recovering from lower-extremity injuries or surgeries. Called The SmartStep System, the insole is paired with an app for patient-therapist communication and monitoring. Weight-bearing monitoring helps patients gain confidence to be more active during recovery and lessen the chance of reinjury. Lego Legion participates in many outreach activities and loves to spend time together as a team of friends.
|FIRST Tech Challenge Team 16884, Mechanical Advantage, based in San Diego, California, has devised an app that encourages autistic children to increase their physical activity. Lack of exercise in the autistic spectrum disorder community correlates with increased incidence of disease, including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This mobile app creates personalized games and rewards steps walked, jogged or run with earned time to play a hidden object game. The app uses client feedback to guide internet searches to locate and hide objects of interest within visually interesting scenarios. By making exercise fun and personalized, the app seeks to improve health. Through FIRST, the team recognizes its ability to dream big, reach farther, and accomplish great things.
|FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2554, The WarHawks, based in Edison, New Jersey, has developed a system to assist the visually impaired with navigation and object recognition in their immediate surroundings––thereby improving safety and security. VisualEyes, a low-cost and easy-to-use device, works with the white cane by using advanced object recognition, based on artificial intelligence, powered by ultrasonic sensors and cameras mounted on a hat. Data is transmitted to an app equipped with customized instructions, accessibility features and a multitude of security measures. The WarHawks provide themselves with a comfortable environment to foster teamwork and new ideas as they pursue their passion for engineering and robotics.
To learn more about FIRST, visit https://www.firstinspires.org. For more information about Star Wars: Force for Change, visit https://www.starwars.com/force-for-change. More details about DoD STEM/DSEC partners can be found at https://dodstem.us/about/partners.