Kid Inventors Win $20,000 Prize for Creating Device to Help Seniors Pick Up Small Objects

FIRST®, XPRIZE honor FIRST® LEGO League team at 3rd Annual Global Innovation Award Ceremony

MANCHESTER, N.H., June 18, 2013 ― Kid inventors in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) took top honors today at the 3rd annual Global Innovation Award ceremony for their invention, the “Gramma-Jamma,” an assistive aid for seniors, earning a $20,000 cash prize from the Award’s Founding Sponsor, XPRIZE. Nearly 500 FLL teams from around the world submitted ideas for inventions that could help seniors lead better lives. The winning invention, submitted by “NeXT GEN” from Oakland, Md., is an assistive device that helps seniors pick up pills or other small objects that are difficult to retrieve with a conventional claw or magnetic-type device.  The theme for the competition was SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM; FLL teams were tasked with creating inventions that help seniors lead better lives.

The other finalist teams, “Lucky is our Dog” from Columbus, Ohio and “Rockford Christian Royal Narwhals” from Rockford, Ill., each earned $5,000 from XPRIZE to help with their  inventions. In addition, all teams will receive expert support and in-depth intellectual property reviews from the Award’s “Go-To-Market Sponsor,” Edison Nation.

In the fall of 2012, 20,500 FLL teams from 80 countries participated in the SENIOR SOLUTIONS Challenge.  As part of their Challenge, teams conducted research and developed inventions to help seniors become more independent, engaged and connected in their communities. Teams also had the opportunity to submit their inventions for the 3rd annual FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, with a chance to win cash prizes and support from product marketing experts.

After five million online votes helped to determine the top 20 semi-finalists teams, a panel of expert judges reviewed the submissions, narrowing down the list to three finalist teams who gathered today at the 3rd Global Innovation Award ceremony, held at the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO). 

FIRST LEGO League Teams and Their Inventions:


FIRST® LEGO® League Team

Team Origin




Oakland, Md.


The Buddy

Lucky is our Dog

Columbus, Ohio


The Magnetic Plug Adaptor

Rockford Christian Royal Narwhals

Rockford, Ill.


  • WINNING TEAM, NeXT GEN – The “Gramma-Jamma” is an assistive device that helps seniors pick up pills or other small objects that are difficult to retrieve with a conventional claw or magnetic-type device. The “Gramma-Jamma” is based on the same technology being used to produce universal grippers for robotic manipulators.
  • FINALIST TEAM, Lucky is our Dog – “The Buddy” is an easily-installed motion sensor that monitors for movement in a senior’s home. If movement is not detected during the pre-determined time frame, the device calls several, pre-programmed emergency contacts that can check on the senior and call emergency services if necessary. “The Buddy” is easily installed in a frequented location in the home, unlike competing devices that are often worn around the neck. This invention allows seniors to live independently and safely.
  • FINALIST TEAM, Rockford Christian Royal Narwhals – The “Magnetic Plug Adaptor” (MPA) is a safe, easy-to-use alternative to the traditional electric plug and prevents seniors from tripping over power cords. When seniors need to use an appliance, they simply bring the cord close to the wall adaptor. The magnetic power of the MPA keeps the appliance plugged in, conducts power safely to the appliance, and easily detaches from the wall. The MPA’s safety features include an easy grip and operational lights, indicating if the plug is ready for use and helping seniors locate the MPA in low-light situations.  

Award sponsor, AARP, also selected an additional team, ROBOLUTION, to present their invention, the HydroBand, at the AARP National Event & Expo: Life@50 in Las Vegas, Nev. from May 31 - June 1, 2013. The HydroBand reminds seniors to keep hydrated using sensor technology. In addition, LEGO® Education presented team members on all three finalist teams with a gift certificate for the new LEGO MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot kit.

The FIRST LEGO League is one of four programs offered by FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen that inspires kids’ interest in science and technology careers. 

“What’s most exciting is to see the spark and passion of the finalist teams,” said Don E. Bossi, President, FIRST. “Do not ever lose that spark. We are all counting on you for the future.”

The Global Innovation Award’s “Partners in Innovation Sponsors” include: Booz Allen Hamilton; John Deere; and Rockwell Collins. “Go-to-Market” Sponsor, Edison Nation, helps winning teams take their product from idea to store shelves. The Award is presented in cooperation with the AARP and the USPTO.

Founded in 1995, XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself.  The organization motivates and inspires brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital for the benefit of humanity.  XPRIZE conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.  Prizes won include the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE for private, suborbital space flight; the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive XPRIZE for creating safe, affordable, production-capable vehicles that exceed 100 MPGe (energy equivalent); the $2 million Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander XCHALLENGE for advanced rocket development; and the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE for highly effective, ocean surface oil spill cleanup methods.  Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics XPRIZE presented by Express Scripts, and the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE.  For more information, go to  

About Booz Allen Hamilton
Booz Allen Hamilton has been at the forefront of strategy and technology consulting for nearly a century. Today, the firm provides services primarily to the US government in defense, intelligence, and civil markets, and to major corporations, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. Booz Allen offers clients deep functional knowledge spanning consulting, mission operations, technology, and engineering—which it combines with specialized expertise in clients’ mission and domain areas to help solve their toughest problems.

Booz Allen is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, employs more than 24,000 people, and had revenue of $5.76 billion for the 12 months ended March 31, 2013. To learn more, visit (NYSE: BAH)

About John Deere
Deere & Company (NYSE: DE) is the world’s leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment as well as a top supplier of product solutions for the construction, forestry and turf care industries. The company and its nearly 67,000 employees are committed to the success of customers whose work is linked to the land—those who cultivate, harvest, transform, enrich and build upon the land to meet the world’s dramatically increasing need for food, fuel, shelter, and infrastructure.

At John Deere, approximately 40% of its global salaried employees work in STEM-related jobs supporting innovation, one of John Deere’s core values. John Deere supports STEM through its John Deere Inspire initiative which includes partnerships with FIRST, Project Lead the Way (PLTW), 4-H, SAE A World In Motion (AWIM), and SECME.

Visit John Deere on its website at

About Rockwell Collins
Rockwell Collins (NYSE: COL) is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, information management, and simulation and training is delivered by 19,000 employees, and a global service and support network that crosses 27 countries. To find out more, please visit

About Edison Nation
Edison Nation is a product design and development group with expertise in the consumer, industrial and medical space. Edison Nation operates, an online community for innovators, Everyday Edisons, an Emmy® Award-winning series on public television, and Inventors Digest, a top trade publication dedicated to the study of business and innovation. Edison Nation utilizes corporate relationships with the country’s top retailers, manufacturers and ASOTV companies to bring independent inventor-driven ideas to market. Products can be found in all major mass retailers across the country. Edison Nation was founded in 2005 and is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. For more information, please visit

About the USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the Executive branch "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries." The USPTO registers trademarks based on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the Nation's technological progress and achievement.

About AARP
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million, that helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment and income security, retirement planning, affordable utilities and protection from financial abuse. We advocate for individuals in the marketplace by selecting products and services of high quality and value to carry the AARP name as well as help our members obtain discounts on a wide range of products, travel, and services.  A trusted source for lifestyle tips, news and educational information, AARP produces AARP The Magazine, the world's largest circulation magazine; AARP Bulletin;; AARP TV & Radio; AARP Books; and AARP en Español, a Spanish-language website addressing the interests and needs of Hispanics. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to political campaigns or candidates. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity of AARP that is working to win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50+ by being a force for change on the most serious issues they face today: housing, hunger, income and isolation. AARP has staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Learn more at

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen:  "Only the best is good enough."  For more information, visit

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 $16 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. 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

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, FLL®, and SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM are jointly held trademarks of FIRST and the LEGO Group. ©2013 FIRST. All rights reserved.