Student Innovations in Water Use, Interaction Recognized at FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award

Spanish Team Awarded $20,000 Prize to Help Advance Pioneering Agricultural Solution

MANCHESTER, N.H. – June 22, 2018 - Students from around the world were recognized yesterday for their exemplary water use solutions at the eighth annual FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award ceremony. Held at San Jose State University, 20 FIRST LEGO League teams were honored by Don Bossi, president of FIRST®, for their innovative solutions. The ceremony included parents, students, coaches, sponsors and leaders in innovation and technology.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not-for-profit organization that inspires young people’s participation and interest in science and technology. FIRST LEGO League teams from 26 countries worldwide submitted their solutions for the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award. Submissions were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, who then selected a winning team and two runners-up after a series of interviews, presentations and invention examination sessions throughout the two-day event. The winning team received a cash award of $20,000, and both runners-up each received $5,000.

As part of the event, the 20 semi-finalist teams attended workshops on business models, design thinking and additional topics led by Global Innovation Award supporters and sponsors.


HYDROBALL is a tennis-ball sized water conservation tool that gets buried in the soil and precisely measures how much water is available for crops. It provides the user with real-time data via smartphone 5 technology. With a dual sensor and battery life of seven years, the HYDROBALL measures both the moisture in the soil and the tension with which the land retains water – that is, the amount of water available for the plant.

Global Innovation Award winner

RUNNER-UP – PLASTICKER by D++ of Tel Aviv, Israel  

PLASTICKER is a disposable sticker placed on water bottle labels that changes color when the water has prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The nontoxic thermochromic liquid crystal on the sticker changes color at the exact temperature when the plastic begins leaching chemicals.

RUNNER-UP – UVeggie by LEGO Legion of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

The UVeggie is a salad-spinner-like appliance that uses UVC-wavelength light and water to kill microbes and clean produce, so travelers and volunteer/aid workers can eat healthy and enjoy fresh produce.

2017-2018 FIRST LEGO League Challenge

As part of the 2017-2018 HYDRO DYNAMICSSM Challenge, FIRST LEGO League teams (students ages 9-16; ages vary by country) in 85 countries were asked to explore how to improve the ways people find, transport, use or dispose of water, all while operating under the FIRST signature set of Core Values, emphasizing teamwork and good sportsmanship. More than 280,000 children worldwide explored what’s possible when we work together to solve one of our planet’s most pressing issues.

“The ability to teach and nurture the next generation of STEM leaders is why Booz Allen partners year after year with FIRST LEGO League,” said Susan Penfield, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer at Booz Allen Hamilton. “It’s the spark of ingenuity in the eyes of the Global Innovation Award semi-finalists that reminds us of our own passions. As a firm fueled by maintaining a vibrant innovation ecosystem, we’re proud to continue to support FIRST in its efforts to make the world a better place.”

FIRST LEGO League partners with award sponsors to advance the common goal of fostering innovative problem-solvers. Partners in Innovation include Booz Allen Hamilton, PwC and LEGO Education.

Global Innovation Collaborations include John Deere, Rockwell Collins, XPRIZE and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award is presented in cooperation with The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

“Our world is becoming increasingly dependent upon technology, and we need innovators and creators to help us continue moving society forward,” said Tina Knauss, Assurance Partner and Bay Area youth education partner champion at PwC. “PwC’s purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems, and we see no more important way of doing this than by equipping the next generation with the skills they’ll need to change the world and inspire others to do the same. FIRST has a proven track record of changing students’ lives through STEM education, and we’re proud to support FIRST® LEGO® League and the students it touches around the globe.”

Find more information about FIRST LEGO League and the Global Innovation Award here.


About FIRST® 
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $80 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to