The Tennessean | Feb. 17, 2012
Four middle-school boys from Spring Hill are in the national spotlight as the First Lego League’s Global Innovation Award contest swings into full gear.
Alex Swafford, Benjamin Kulas, Cameron Frazier and Jarett Ward are the MINDbuilders Robotics Team who, as part of the FLL’s food safety challenge this year, invented the patent-pending DiaWeevil. This revolutionary invention uses a strong magnetic field with the principles of diamagnetism to remove weevils from stored wheat grain, eliminating the need for pesticides and keeping weevil remains out of the food supply.
The boys, ages 10-14, were encouraged to enter this international competition when their invention won first place in “Innovative Solution” at the Tennessee State FLL Championship in December. The First Lego League Global Innovation Award is designed to encourage and assist FLL teams to further develop their innovative solutions to real-world problems.
This year, the FLL Food Factor season challenged kids around the world to solve a food safety problem. Any registered FLL team may enter its food safety invention to win the opportunity to take its idea to the next level. To date, there are 139 teams entered and only the MINDbuilders from Williamson County and the Ninjineers from Oak Ridge are registered with inventions from Tennessee.
Online voting will determine 10 semifinalist teams, and a panel of judges will select an additional 10 semifinalists based on merit. A final panel of judges will consider the 20 semifinalists and from those, three finalists will be chosen, including one winning team and two runners-up.
Inventions will be judged on the following criteria: solution clearly results from the current FLL Challenge; feasibility; originality/creativity; efficiency, simplicity, cost-effectiveness; public benefit; and commercial viability. The winning team will be offered the opportunity to work with Edison Nation to professionally develop, produce and take their invention to market. Select teams will each receive one-on-one consultations about their invention from leaders in innovation, Dean Kamen and Louis Foreman.
You can help these young inventors by voting for their DiaWeevil invention daily through March 1 at www.tinyurl.com/vote4diaweevil.