The Flying Monkeys, a Girl Scout team from Ames, Iowa, will receive up to $20,000 from the X PRIZE Foundation toward patenting the BOB-1, an invention the team submitted for a multi-functional, cost-effective prosthetic hand device that would enable users with limb abnormalities to hold, grip, stabilize, or secure items. The BOB-1 prototype is currently in use by Danielle Fairchild, a three-year-old from Georgia.
Danielle, who was born without fingers on her dominant hand, is able to use a pencil, thanks to the device created by the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) team comprised of all girls, ages 11–13. The device earned the team the inaugural FIRST Global Innovation Award, presented by the X PRIZE Foundation.
For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) is a not-for-profit organization founded by Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research & Development, Manchester, New Hampshire, to inspire young people’s interest and participation in science and technology. Presented by the X PRIZE Foundation, in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the award offers global FLL teams the opportunity to submit innovative solutions to real-world problems, stemming from a yearly FLL Challenge.
“The winning team’s working prototype, which is already improving the life of a young child, proves that FIRST participants are making the world a better place with their creative problem-solving skills,” Kamen said. “Now with the help of the X PRIZE Foundation and the USPTO, the Flying Monkeys will receive the kind of support needed so more people can benefit from their invention.”