Global Innovation Past Winners


Team FrancoDroid
Winner – CosmoCup by FrancoDroid of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Although a woman’s menstrual cycle can go uninterrupted in space, there are not a lot of waste-disposal systems aboard a spacecraft that are set up to handle a female period. This results in female astronauts choosing to take contraceptives to skip their periods instead. CosmoCup creates a functional cleaning process that consists of a menstrual collector with a membrane on top, which would prevent the blood from dissipating.

Runner-up - AstroTube Clipper by Chaos Crew of Fresno, CA, USA

Without gravity, the task of clipping finger and toenails in space is extremely tedious, inefficient, and sometimes messy. The AstroTube Clipper catches nail clippings and allows for easy disposal in zero gravity.

Runner-Up - WEMIT by iDB-Tech-No-Logic of Verona, Italy

WEMIT is a machine that unknits an astronaut’s specially-made garments, passes the whole thread through a cleaning solvent and then re-arranges the clean thread on a spool, which can be put into a 3-D knitting machine.


Winner – The HYDROBALL by FSINGENIUM of Pamplona, Spain

FSINGENIUM team comes from a region in Spain that is an agricultural zone. The team’s innovative solution, the 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.

Runner-Up - UVeggie by LEGO Legion of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

International travelers are warned not to have contact with tap water in foreign countries because they have no immunity to microbes in the water. Local produce is rinsed with this same contaminated water. 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. The UVeggie comes in both a motorized and hand-crank version and in several sizes.

Runner-Up - PLASTICKER by Team D++ of Tel Aviv, Israel

Plastic water bottles stored or exposed to temperatures greater than 104°F for longer than 15 minutes release a toxic chemical that contaminates the drinking water. The PLASTICKER is a disposable sticker placed on water bottle labels that changes color when the water has prolonged exposed high temperatures.  The non-toxic thermochromic liquid crystal on the sticker changes color at the exact temperature when the plastic begins leaching chemicals.



Winner - The H20 Post by The Hydrators of Oakville, Ontario, Canada

The H20 Post (Horses Hydrating Outside) is an automated water post which monitors the amount of water horses drink. The post and trough monitor water consumption by using detectable tags worn on a horse’s halter. The data is collected through a REFI reader and is sent to the horse owner through an App. Learn more on the team's website.

Runner-Up - FISH: 3.D. by Team Phoenix of Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

F.I.S.H. 3D: Floating Island Sustainable Habitat is a modular plant restoration system that harnesses the natural processes found in wetlands to reduce nutrient load and restore lost floating wetlands. A biodegradable matrix, holes for secure installation, and interlocking systems are main features. Customizable island habitats can tailored to specific needs by using the MyLandMaker App.

Runner-Up - Vfly by Team Gryffindor of Chappaqua, New York, USA 

Vfly is a system that plays predator calls to disperse birds as they approach structures to help lower the number of collisions with structures. Motion and visual sensors capture images of birds approaching and identify the species, triggering a species-specific predator call. Vfly has been tailored to many types of structures, including homes. 


Winner - Styro-Filter by The Incredibots of Gahanna, Ohio
The Styro-Filter is a device in which Styrofoam waste is successfully converted into activated carbon that can be used to purify water. Using a low temperature, enclosed process to carbonize Styrofoam and etch it using chemical reagents, the process produces activated carbon with a surface area of over 100 square meters per gram. The activated carbon is then placed into the Styro-Filter, producing purified water. The patent-pending Styro-Filter process has the potential to reduce the nearly two billion pounds of non-recyclable Styrofoam that is thrown away each year in the United States.

Update Fall 2017 – The win at the Global Innovation Award catapulted the Styro-Filter to wide acclaim in other national STEM Award competitions.  First, they were a finalist for the 2016 Google Science Fair under the headline Fighting Foam Waste with Recycled Filters and took home the Scientific American Inventor Award. In April, they were finalists for the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award, and received the Gemini Award from the U.S. Navy and were named Conrad Scholars for the Energy & Environment category.   In May, the Styro-Filter advanced as finalists for the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair and received a Sigma Xi Award.  In June, team spokesperson Ashton Cofer was interviewed by the CEO of Conservation International on the stage of the Points of Light Conference to discuss the importance of climate change. Ashton now has over 1 million views of his TED talk about the team’s experience building the Styro-Filter.  

The Incredibots

Runner-Up - Water Soluble 6-Pack Rings by Cyber Tigers of Austin, Texas
The Water Soluble 6-Pack Rings were developed as a solution to issues facing marine wildlife. The Cyber Tigers found that marine wildlife was being harmed and dying as a result of being trapped in or ingesting traditional 6-pack rings made by beverage companies to hold plastic bottles or cans. The current plastic rings on the market take months to degrade, and even then small pieces can be eaten by marine wildlife, including birds and turtles. The Water Soluble 6-Pack Rings dissolve when either submerged in water or exposed to enough rain to where they completely dissolve, making them safe for the animals and the environment.

Runner-Up - Chipsulation by Robostallions of Stuart, Florida
Chipsulation was developed in response to the problem of chip bags collecting in landfills – the polyethylene contained in chip bags prevents them from being recyclable. Chipsulation is insulation made from shredded and sanitized chip bags. By shredding the chip bags and turning them into insulation, Chipsulation prevents the build-up of chip bags in landfills. Through market research and testing, The Robostallions discovered that Chipsulation is not only more cost effective than regular insulation, but also more efficient.


Winner - ROY G. BIV Math SystemTM by Team Storm of Terre Haute, Indiana
Since winning the Global Innovation Award in 2015, Team Storm has been busy continuing to pursue their App, which helps dyslexic students learn math.  {See their blog post from February 2016 here.} Weekly, Team Storm has met with students from a local technical college who are helping them with programming.  They now have the first iteration of their working prototype, have made modifications based on user-testing results, and just confirmed the college has committed to another year of support for their App.  Always aware of the importance of intellectual property, Team Storm has been meeting with patent attorneys towards filing their full utility patent this year.  We are also thankful they gave advice to the FIRST community at a 2016 Championship Conference workshop on how they apply the engineering design process when creating a new innovative solution.  In their spare time, members of Team Storm competed in the TRASH TREKSM season and were chosen as a 2016 Global Innovation Award Semi-Finalist for their invention Eco Snappy TipsTM (judging is blind so they had no idea the invention came from a past winning team), which proves that once you learn how to think innovatively, it is a skill that can continue to be applied to new problems year after year.

Team Storm

Runner-Up - Haptic App Platform for Visually Impaired by the LEGO Lions of Austin, Texas
Application that provides haptic feedback on touch screen devices to helps the user understand advanced math topics such as graphs and curves.

Runner-Up - Insta-BrailleTM by the Braille Boys & Annie of Cumming, Georgia
Addresses the Braille literacy crisis with a device that uses buttons with Braille characters and sound to teach letters.


Winner - Balloon Based Notification Sign by The Brain Busters of Sherborn, Massachusetts
Long-range notification sign that can be used to indicate where to find aid after a natural disaster.

The Brain Busters

Runner-Up - Tsunami Evacuation System by Robotec of Santiago, Chile
Replacing current signage with retroreflectors on roads and LED lights that flash in sequence to direct people in an emergency.

Runner-Up - Cyclone Survivor Board Game by Robotic Raiders of Williamsburg, Iowa
Educational board game that uses federal and local information to educate players on how to prepare for, survive, and recover from a tornado.


Winner - The Gramma-Jamma by NeXT GEN of Oakland, Maryland
An innovative grabber to provide renewed independence to seniors with limited mobility.


Runner-Up - The Buddy by Lucky Is Our Dog of Columbus, Ohio
A motion sensor that allows seniors the independence of living at home.

Runner-Up - The MPA: Magnetic Plug Adaptor by the Rockford Christian Royal Narwhals of Rockford, Illinois
An easy to grasp outlet and plug adaptor which prevents seniors from tripping over appliance cords.


Co-Winner - Smart Sticker by S.I.S Robotics Revolution of Shelton, Connecticut
Sticker changes color when refrigerated items reach unsafe temperatures.

Co-Winner - Erasable Barcode by Moderately Confused of Dublin, Ohio
Prevents stores from selling meat that has been stored at unsafe temperatures. On April 21, 2015, the Erasable Barcode was issued U.S. Patent No. 9,010,653.

Runner-Up - FreezeStick by Seven World Wonders of Yeruham, Israel
Utilizes an endothermic reaction to extend the life of ice in a cooler.

Seven World Wonders

After the FreezeStick made international news, members of the Seven World Wonders were able to demonstrate their invention to and met the 9th Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Runner-Up - Smart Milk Pitcher by MATobot of New York, New York
Detects milk spoilage by measuring changes in pH.


Winner - BOB-1 Hand Device by The Flying Monkeys of Ames, Iowa
Low-cost and easy to put on and off prosthetic device that enables the user to hold, grip, stabilize, or secure any item they otherwise may not have been able to manipulate.
President Obama and Flying Monkeys

The Flying Monkeys

The Flying Monkeys represented FIRST at the White House Science Fair and met President Obama.  On June 16, 2015 the Flying Monkeys were presented with U.S. Patent No. 8,840,157 for their Global Innovation Award winning invention by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Michelle Lee.

Runner-Up - A Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring System by The 4th Motor of East Troy, Wisconsin
Combines RFID technology, microchips, and a watch so that no finger pricks are needed to check insulin levels.

Runner-Up - Unfurling Stent for Growing Children by Blue Gear Ticks of Lincoln, Massachusetts
Bio-absorbable arterial stent that uses heat technology used in cancer treatments to grow with a child.

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