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Machine Mavericks finalists in FIRST Global Innovation Challenge

Machine Mavericks robotics team. Photo by Daniel Geleyn.

Kingston robotics team, the Machine Mavericks, have advanced to join 20 finalist teams from eight different countries in the 2021 FIRST® Global Innovation Awards. The FIRST Global Innovation Challenge invites teams to identify a real-world global issue and develop an innovative solution.

The FIRST Robotics Competition selected Machine Mavericks as a finalist from over 900 highschool level teams around the world for their solution, based on sound and innovative design, feasibility, and the potential to have significant impact in the world, according to a release from FIRST, dated Monday, Jun. 14, 2021.

The Machine Mavericks have invented Aqua Cue as their FIRST Innovation Challenge entry. “Our solution uses indoor tracking technology to help swimmers with visual impairments swim laps independently,” said team member and grade 12 student, Ethan Glassford.

The team will attend virtual workshops, showcase their solution, and present to industry leaders and expert judges on June 28 – 30.

“We think we have a great product idea and we’re aiming to win this world-wide competition,” said Olivia O’Driscoll, a grade 11 student and team co-founder.

Team co-founder and grade 12 student Ella Hsu added, “We’re learning about how this innovation might be commercialized to improve the quality of life for those with visual impairments. Our coaches and community mentors have been key to the learning process.”

The winning team will be awarded mentorships with experts from global industry sponsors to help turn this innovation into a reality, according to the release.

Teams participating in the FIRST Innovation Challenge advance their skills by designing a solution using technology, creating a business model, and pitching their idea. Each season FIRST presents a new theme for teams to explore and solve real world problems. This season’s theme was helping people and communities keep, regain, or achieve optimum physical and mental health.

The Kingston FIRST Robotics community has three high-school level teams of which Machine Mavericks is the newest. Earlier this year, W.A.F.F.L.E.S. Community Robotics was awarded the Provincial Chairman’s Award. All three are looking for new members for the 2021-2022 season. Any prospective students are encouraged to check out the teams at www.machinemavericks.com, www.wafflesrobotics.com, or www.lakeeffectrobotics.ca.

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