FLL Global Innovation Award

Photos Courtesy of the USPTO

XPRIZE and the Heritage Provider Network Inspire Kids with the FIRST®LEGO® League 2016 Global Innovation Award.

Funded by a generous grant from Dr. Richard Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, XPRIZE is once again sponsoring the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Global Innovation Award.  Celebrating its 5th year, the award recognizes a group of young inventors who have applied outstanding innovation and creativity in solving a particular problem. XPRIZE is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor and Founding Partner of the award.

"The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award presented by XPRIZE inspires and rewards truly talented kids,” said Dr. Merkin. "At Heritage we try to stimulate innovation and imagination. As Einstein said, ‘Imagination is everything. It is a preview of life’s coming attractions.” These kids are our future leaders, creators, innovators and imagineers. We are happy to support this important XPRIZE initiative, which will help launch them on their life’s journey.”

The 2016 FIRST LEGO League Theme: Trash Trek

As part of the 2015-2016 TRASH TREKSM Challenge, over 28,000 FIRST LEGO League teams (students ages 9-16) in 21 countries were asked to explore the fascinating world of trash; from collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse. More than 233,000 children worldwide learned there is more to your trash than meets the eye. A panel of expert judges reviewed the submissions and then selected a winning team and two runner-up teams after meeting with teams over the course of the two day event. The winning team received a cash award of $20,000 and the two runner-up teams each received $5,000 at a special ceremony on June 22, 2016, at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia.

THE 2016 FLL Global Innovation Award presented by XPRIZE WINNER:

FLL Global Innovation Awards 2016 - Ohio Team Takes Top Prize for Styrofoam Waste Converter

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.


RUNNER-UP – Water Soluble 6-Pack Rings by Cyber Tigers of Austin, Tex.

The Water Soluble 6-Pack Rings were developed as a solution to issues facing marine wildlife. The Cyber Tigers found that marine wildlife were 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, Fl.

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 chip bags, offering better and cheaper insulation. By shredding the chip bags and turning them into insulation, Chipsulation prevents the build-up of chip bags in landfills.

Read about the 2015 FLL Global Innovation Award >>


FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in science and technology. Based in Manchester, NH, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.

FIRST founder Dean Kamen is an inventor, entrepreneur, and tireless advocate for science and technology. His passion and determination to help young people discover the excitement and rewards of science and technology are the cornerstones of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Generously sponsored by the Heritage Provider Network.

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