Texas teams never fail to impress. The Laurel Mountain Elementary “Lego Lions” team, supported by the Freescale Foundation and [first] in Texas, was honored as one of three global finalists for the FLL “Global Innovation Award,” presented by XPRIZE, at the annual [first] Championship World Festival, held in St. Louis, MO.
The Round Rock-based team, along with two other finalist teams, is traveling to Washington, D.C. in June to be honored at a ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The winning team will receive a cash prize of $20,000, two runners-up teams will take home $5,000 prizes, and all team members from the three finalist teams will receive a new robot sets.
The Laurel Mountain Elementary “Lego Lions” Robotics Team was recognized for its “Haptic AppPlatform for the Visually Impaired,” which improves upon existing technology to provide audio and vibration feedback to help visually impaired people learn about graphing and curves. The mobile application they invented takes advantage of the haptic sensors and actuators in touchscreen devices to provide feedback to users and was developed on an open source platform called COCOS2D.
During the 2014/15 season, 527 teams submitted inventions and 267,000 students participated in FLL, but the Lego Lions were the only team in the world to qualify for the Global Innovation Award semi-finals AND compete with their robot at the World Festival!
Being selected for this award hasn’t changed their goals. “Even after the competition is over, we’re not going to stop our research because we’ve gotten really far,” said Lego Lions member Laya Yalamanchili. “There are 20 million visually impaired children in the world and in order to help those kids, we want to continue this project even if we don’t win.”
Way to go, Lego Lions!