Edison Nation Awards $250,000 in services to winners; X PRIZE Foundation awards cash prizes to runner-up teams; FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg commends kids for food safety inventions

MANCHESTER, N.H., June 19, 2012 — In a surprise decision, a panel of innovation experts named two teams of kid inventors as first place winners for their food safety inventions during the second annual FIRST®LEGO® League Global Innovation Award ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. First place winners were each awarded up to $250,000 in services and support from the award’s Go-To-Market Sponsor, Edison Nation, to help bring their ideas to market. Both teams will also be featured on the Emmy award-winning PBS television show Everyday Edisons.

“The kinds of new thinking that these middle school kids have brought to the discussion can make a difference going forward,” said Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration. “We need to encourage young students like this to continue to think and act in new ways and to bring their energy and intellect to these efforts.”

Two FIRST LEGO League runner-up teams were awarded $5,000 grants from the X PRIZE Foundation, Founding Sponsor of the award, to help further develop their ideas.

The winners of the 2nd annual FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award are:

  • First Place Winner: Moderately Confused of Dublin, Ohio, invented the Erasable Barcode to prevent the sale of meat stored at improper temperatures at grocery stores;
  • First Place Winner: S.I.S. Robotic Revolution of Shelton, Conn., invented the Smart Sticker to indicate whether or not food has been stored at the appropriate temperature;
  • Runner-Up: MATobot of New York, NY, invented the Smart Milk Pitcher that detects milk spoilage by measuring pH change and alerts consumers; and
  • Runner-Up: Seven World Wonders of Yeruham, Israel, invented the FreezeStick to renew the freezing of ice in a cooler, gaining 10 extra hours of cooling.

“Kids are better at innovation and solving problems because they have the energy for it, the get-up-and-go spirit—they want to do it,” said Joseph N., first place winner from the S.I.S. Robotic Revolution team. “On the other hand, some adults might not have that energy… maybe they are just doing it because they have to.”

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen that inspires young people’s interest in science and technology. The annual FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, established by FIRST, helps students solve real-world problems by supporting the development of their ideas and inventions through the product development process. The award offers teams an opportunity to further develop and submit ideas stemming from this year’s FIRST LEGO League projects.

For this season’s challenge, food safety, FIRST LEGO League teams in more than 60 countries explored a set of food safety missions and developed innovative solutions to improve the safety of the world’s current food supply. Teams submitted their ideas to an online portal; more than one million votes were cast by the public to help determine the four finalist teams.

Students unveiled their inventions and participated in a kid inventor panel, taking questions from experts and discussing the research behind their inventions. The finalists were honored for their creativity, compassion, and innovation for solving some of today’s most challenging food safety issues by a prestigious gathering of executives from the food safety field, including Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration; Margaret Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and Elisabeth Hagen, M.D., Undersecretary, Food Safety, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

This year’s FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award program sponsors include Edison Nation, X PRIZE Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, John Deere, MasterCard, and Rockwell Collins. 

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 three out of every five Fortune 500 companies and nearly $15 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) and FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for high-school students, FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for 9 to 14-year-olds, (9 to 16-year-olds outside the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for 6 to 9-year-olds. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. 

FIRST® and the FIRST® logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST®). LEGO® and MINDSTORMS® are registered trademarks of The LEGO Group. FIRST® LEGO® League and FLL® are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and The LEGO Group.

Media Contacts:

Shana Benzinane, FIRST 
Ph. 603-206-2482
Emily Carlucci, Cone