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

Funded by a generous grant from Dr. Dick Merkin, President and CEO of Heritage Provider Network, XPRIZE is once again sponsoring the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) Global Innovation Award. The Award recognizes a group of young inventors who have applied outstanding innovation and creativity in solving a particular problem. The Foundation is proud to be the Founding Partner of the Award because its goal to encourage youth to create inventions to improve the lives of others aligns so strongly with the Foundation’s mission to bring about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity through incentivized competition.

"The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award 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.”

2012 FLL Global Innovation Award

As part of the FIRST LEGO League competition, teams had to submit a concept addressing the FOOD FACTOR Challenge. 20,000 teams and nearly 200,000 children from more than 55 countries considered the topic? of food safety. They examined the possible points of contamination our food encounters — from processing and transportation, to preparation and storage – then explored ways to prevent or combat these contaminates.

Through public voting online plus a panel of food safety experts, hundreds of submitting teams were narrowed down to the top 20 Semifinalists, who were then pared down to four Finalists for the Global Innovation Award. The FLL Global Innovation Award winner was announced at an award ceremony held June 19, 2012 at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. The Finalists were honored for their creativity, compassion, and innovation for solving some of today’s most challenging food safety issues. Among the prestigious executives from the food safety field speaking at the event were Margaret Hamburg, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drug Administration; and Margaret Focarino, Commissioner for Patents, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

XPRIZE Vice Chairman and President Robert K. Weiss addresses the crowd at the awards ceremony at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Moderately Confused (Dublin, OH, United States):
Invention: Erasable Barcode 

The Erasable Barcode combined a product called the Timestrip, which measures temperatures above 40 degrees, with the grocery store barcode. When the Erasable Barcode is activated, the word "SAFE" appears. As the time outside the temperature increases, the ink advances closer to the barcode. After two hours, the ink will flow into a chamber that covers the barcode, covering it up and preventing it from being able to be scanned.



S.I.S. Robotic Revolution (Shelton, CT, United States):
Invention: Smart Sticker

The "Smart Sticker" is placed on the outside of a refrigerated food container (e.g., an egg carton) and has a positive color (green) indicating that the food has been properly stored at the appropriate temperature for the life of the product throughout its transportation and storage. If the food is left outside the acceptable temperature range for an extended period of time, the sticker will irreversibly change color (red) to indicate that possible food contamination may have occurred.




Seven World Wonders (Yeruham, Israel):
Invention: FreezeStick

Everybody is familiar with the fact that even a good picnic cooler can preserve food for up to 10 hours. This team utilized chemical reactions in their FreezeStick innovation to renew the freezing of the ice in the cooler, gaining yet another 10 hours of cooling.



MATobot (New York, NY, United States):
Invention: Smart Milk Pitcher

The intelligent milk pitcher detects milk spoilage by measuring pH change. It is equipped with flashing color lights, sound alarm, and a written message, alerting people (able or disabled, young and old) whether the milk is spoiled.





We thank and congratulate all of the amazing, inspired young innovators who participated!

2012 FIRST Championship

The FIRST Championship is the culmination of the season's FIRST programs, bringing together three separate robotics competitions. XPRIZE Vice Chairman & President Robert K. Weiss addressed the crowd at the FLL Closing Ceremonies and Awards held on April 28 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Read about the 2011 FLL Global Innovation Award >>


The FIRST robotic Championship was started in 1989 by inventor and XPRIZE Trustee Dean Kamen to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders. FIRST programs build science, engineering and technology skills, inspire innovation, and foster self-confidence, communication, and leadership. Over 293,000 students participate across four age-specific leagues. The FIRST LEGO League alone is 198,000 children, ages 9 to 16 (Grades 4-8), from 50+ countries.


Generously sponsored by the Heritage Provider Network.

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