FIRST Recognizes Students for Innovation in Redefining the Future of Learning in Fifth Annual FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award Contest

Team from Indiana Takes Top Prize for Math App Aiding Children with Dyslexia

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 16, 2015 – Students’ creative ideas to improve learning in the 21st century became award-winning inventions today at the fifth annual FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) Global Innovation Award ceremony, held at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Virginia. Dean Kamen, inventor and founder of FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization that inspires young people’s participation and interest in science and technology, honored three FIRST® LEGO® League teams for their contemporary solutions during the ceremony which included parents, kids, Coaches, patent experts, Sponsors, and education experts.

More than 500 FIRST LEGO League teams across the globe submitted their inventions for the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Awardpresented by XPRIZE.  A panel of expert judges reviewed the submissions, narrowed the list to three finalists, and then selected a winning team and two runner-up teams. The winning team received a cash award of $20,000 and the two runner-up teams each received $5,000.

WINNER – ROY G. BIV Math System by Team Storm of Terre Haute, Indiana

The ROY G. BIV Math System is an app designed to improve the way children challenged with dyslexia learn new math concepts. A color-coded system keeps digits in place when children do any kind of math operation. The system uses the rainbow color order so children will recognize if they unintentionally move digits because the familiar ROY G. BIV pattern will also be out of order. By assigning a unique color to each place value, it is easier for a child with dyslexia to follow, but would also be useful for children with dysgraphia or a more serious math disorder called dyscalculia. 

RUNNER-UP – Insta-Braille™ by Braille Boys & Annie of Cumming, Georgia

Insta-Braille is a sound module programmed with a voice recording for each letter of the alphabet. Letter buttons containing a corresponding Braille character connect to the module. A child or adult who is visually impaired can feel the Braille character then push the button to hear the letter representing the Braille character on the button. Through repetition the first 26 Braille characters, the foundation of Braille, can be easily memorized. Students using the Insta-Braille do not need the assistance of someone sighted or a Braille teacher.

RUNNER-UP – Haptic AppPlatform by LEGO Lions of Austin, Texas

The Haptic AppPlatform for Visually Impaired was invented to help remedy the struggles of visually impaired children to visualize advanced math topics such as graphs and curves and has been expanded to shapes, letters, maps, slope fields, etc. The application provides haptic feedback on touch screen devices and is based on an open source, game development program. The team has founded a non-profit organization to better address the needs of the visually impaired.

2014-2015 FLL Challenge

As part of the 2014-2015 FLL WORLD CLASS℠ Challenge, FIRST LEGO League teams (students ages 9-16) in nearly 80 countries were asked to explore the future of learning. More than 260,000 children worldwide taught adults about the ways that kids need and want to learn in the 21st century, and developed tools to help others gather knowledge.

“Not only are these students embracing their creative problem-solving skills to help solve complex issues, they are actually teaching adults how to help students learn better and to thrive in and out of the classroom. This year’s inventions could help students of different abilities enhance their learning skills and find their passion for developing new skills and even finding their future careers,” said Dean Kamen, who is also president of DEKA Research & Development.

FIRST LEGO League partners with Award Sponsors to advance a common goal: fostering innovative problem-solvers. XPRIZE was Presenting Sponsor of the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award for the fifth consecutive year. XPRIZE attracts the world’s top innovators and supports them in tackling the grand challenges faced by society.

“We are proud to be the Presenting Sponsor of the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award. The finalist teams have proven to be innovators and there is no doubt in our minds that they will go on to solve grand challenges” said Alan Zack, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications, XPRIZE. “It is said that you are what you celebrate. Today, we celebrate imagination, we celebrate team work, we celebrate creativity, we celebrate a better future, but above all, we celebrate innovation.”

Global Innovation Award Partners in Innovation Sponsors include: Booz Allen Hamilton, John Deere, Rockwell Collins, and The LEGO Foundation. The FLL Global Innovation Award is presented in cooperation with the National Building Museum and the USPTO.

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

About FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9 to 16-year-old children (9 to 14 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO Education materials, children work alongside adult Coaches to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.

The LEGO Group, Founding Partner of FIRST LEGO League, has supported the growth and success of FIRST LEGO League through ongoing funding and donations for more than a dozen years as the program has grown into a global competition. In the 2013-2014 FLL season, the program reached nearly 300,000 youth worldwide.

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 $20 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

Media Contacts:

Haley Dunn, FIRST
Ph. 603-206-2494
                                  Brooke Blew, FIRST
Ph. 603-206-2048