FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen, announced that FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) teams across the globe competed to win worldwide recognition for their socially-focused inventions in the fourth annual FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award, presented by XPRIZE. The FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award encouraged teams, comprised of youths ages 9-16, to submit ideas stemming from the 2013-2014 season’s NATURE’S FURYSM Challenge which tasked teams in nearly 80 countries to explore natural disasters and develop innovative ways to prepare, stay safe, and rebuild following these often devastating events. To honor the humanitarian work efforts of all FIRST LEGO League students, DEKA Research & Development and FIRST will donate Kamen’s Slingshot™ water purification system to a country in need.
“For the past four years, the FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award has given young people a platform for sharing their innovative ideas with the world,” said Kamen, President of DEKA Research & Development. “We want kids to know that not only do their ideas matter, but their solutions for dealing with natural disasters can truly help people survive and rebuild after destructive events. Our hope is that this Award will inspire these students to be the problem-solvers who will make the future a better place to live.”
Developed by Kamen’s DEKA Research & Development, the Slingshot technology is a vapor compression distillation system capable of purifying any type of dirty water – river water, ocean water, and even raw sewage – into clean, drinkable water.
Today, more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and approximately 2.5 billion don’t have adequate sanitation. Slingshot delivers approximately 800 liters of clean water daily at the hourly electricity cost of less than a standard handheld hair dryer (1kWh).
More than 500 FLL teams submitted ideas for the 2014 FIRST LEGO League Global Innovation Award. The winning team will receive a cash award of $20,000. The two runners-up will receive $5,000 each. The top three teams will be present for an awards ceremony at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va. on June 3, 2014. In addition to declaring the winning team, Kamen will announce the country that will receive the Slingshot.