Fort Lauderdale team wins XPRIZE and Google’s STEM-based competition for kids, “MOONBOTS”

Twin Girls, 9, Will Travel to Japan to Meet Google Lunar XPRIZE Teams

LOS ANGELES (September 24, 2015) – XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, and Google today announced Linked Lunas, 9-year-old twin girls from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a grand prize winner in the 2015 MOONBOTS Challenge, also considered the “Google Lunar XPRIZE for Kids.” MOONBOTS is an international competition that encourages the next generation of space explorers and innovators by inviting kids ages 8-17 to design, create and program their own lunar rover, based on a legend or theory that inspires them about the moon.

Linked Lunas is comprised of twin sisters Hadley and Delaney Robertson and their team captain and mom, Shannon Robertson. The team bested 235 teams from 29 countries that entered competition in April. Next month, they will embark upon a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan to meet the official teams competing for a $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon.

Their entry was based on a historical tale and scientific theory that hits close to home for them – that the earth once had “twin” moons that collided and merged into one. The sisters used this tale as inspiration to build and program a one-of-a-kind simulated lunar mission using the MECCANO Meccanoid G15 KS robotic platform and demonstrated its capabilities during a live webcast with the judges.

“Team Linked Lunas showed ingenuity and innovation in their robotic building and programming, and were creative and imaginative in the way they interpreted their moon ‘tale,’” said Chanda Gonzales, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “Hadley and Delaney were incredibly engaging, and their mission will provide inspiration for kids all over the world.”

In addition to developing their lunar rover, the sisters contributed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by sharing their innovation with children at the School is Cool initiative – a partnership between the Community Foundation of Broward and the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery & Science to provide underserved and at risk 6th and 7th grade Broward county students with a comprehensive after school program.

The kids’ competition attracted 235 teams from 29 countries, who entered phase one by submitting a written or video entry about what inspires them about the moon. Teams are comprised of 2-4 members (ages 8-17) and one team captain at least 18 years old. A panel of judges selected 30 teams to qualify for phase two, each of which was provided one of three platform systems (LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, VEX IQ, MECCANO Meccanoid G15 KS) to build and program a unique simulated robotic mission based on the moon tale they submitted in phase one. In addition, they were asked to contribute to STEM education by sharing their innovation with children and adults in their community.

Along with Team Linked Lunas, other grand prize winners are: Mecaliks of Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico; Team GalacTECHs of Tustin, Calif.; and Moonshot of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Naples, Italy.

Since 2010, MOONBOTS has challenged thousands of young people from around the world. In addition to XPRIZE and Google, competition partners include FIRST® LEGO® League, Cogmation Robotics, VEX Robotics Inc., Spin-Master Ltd., the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (RECF), GeekDad, GeekMom, Robomatter Incorporated and Dexter Industries. More information, including the full list of finalists, can be found at moonbots.org.

 

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE 

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth. For more information, visit lunar.xprize.org/.

 

About XPRIZE 
Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.  Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE. For more information, visit xprize.org.

Team from Brooklyn, New York, and Naples, Italy, wins XPRIZE and Google’s STEM-based competition for kids, “MOONBOTS”

Two Cousins, Ages 10 and 12, Will Travel to Japan to Meet Google Lunar XPRIZE Teams

LOS ANGELES (September 24, 2015) – XPRIZE, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, and Google today announced Moonshot, cousins ages 10 and 12 from Brooklyn, New York, and Naples, Italy, is a grand prize winner in the 2015 MOONBOTS Challenge, also considered the “Google Lunar XPRIZE for Kids.” MOONBOTS is an international competition that encourages the next generation of space explorers and innovators by inviting kids ages 8-17 to design, create and program their own lunar rover, based on a legend or theory that inspires them about the moon.

Moonshot virtual team members Dario Cipani, 12, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y with his mom and team captain Sara Cipani; and Sasha Cipani, 10, who lives in Naples, Italy; didn’t let distance and time zones get in the way of their shared love of the moon. They worked together online from their respective countries to build and program a one-of-a-kind simulated lunar mission using the LEGO MINDSTORMS robotic platform. Their inspiration was Luna, Dario’s sister and Sasha’s cousin, and the idea that the moon we all share can bring people together — just as it brought their family together.

Next month, they cousins will take a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan together to meet the official teams competing for a $30 million dollar Google Lunar XPRIZE, a global competition to land a privately funded robot on the moon.

“Team Moonshot showed ingenuity and innovation in their robotic building and programming, and were creative and imaginative in the way they interpreted their moon ‘tale,’” said Chanda Gonzales, senior director, Google Lunar XPRIZE. “Dario and Sasha were incredibly engaging, and their mission will provide inspiration for kids all over the world.”

In addition to developing their lunar rover, the cousins contributed to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by sharing their innovation with underprivileged children through Associazione Quartieri Spagnoli Onlus – a nonprofit organization in Italy.

The kids’ competition attracted 235 teams from 29 countries, who entered phase one by submitting a written or video entry about what inspires them about the moon. Teams are comprised of 2-4 members (ages 8-17) and one team captain at least 18 years old. A panel of judges selected 30 teams to qualify for phase two, each of which was provided one of three platform systems (LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, VEX IQ, MECCANO Meccanoid G15 KS) to build and program a unique simulated robotic mission based on the moon tale they submitted in phase one. In addition, they were asked to contribute to STEM education by sharing their innovation with children and adults in their community.

Along with Moonshot, other grand prize winners are: Mecaliks of Cuautitlan Izcalli, Mexico; Team GalacTECHs of Tustin, Calif.; and Linked Lunas of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Since 2010, MOONBOTS has challenged thousands of young people from around the world. In addition to XPRIZE and Google, competition partners include FIRST® LEGO® League, Cogmation Robotics, VEX Robotics Inc., Spin-Master Ltd., the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (RECF), GeekDad, GeekMom, Robomatter Incorporated and Dexter Industries. More information, including the full list of finalists, can be found at moonbots.org.

 

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE 

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth. For more information, visit lunar.xprize.org/.

 

About XPRIZE 
Founded in 1995, XPRIZE is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prizes in five areas: Learning; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.  Active prizes include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, and the $7M Adult Literacy XPRIZE. For more information, visit xprize.org.

HEROES WANTED! XPRIZE IS LAUNCHING A VIDEO CONTEST FOR 8- to 17-YEAR- OLDS TO FORM THE REAL-LIFE „BIG HERO 6“

XPRIZE has joined forces with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Disney Corporate Citizenship for today’s launch of a nationwide video contest designed to find the real-life counterparts to the animated heroes that will soon burst onto the big screen in „BIG HERO 6,“ an action-packed comedy-adventure from Disney opening November 7, 2014.

The DISNEY BIG HERO 6 – XPRIZE CHALLENGE invites young people between the ages of 8 and 17 to harness their creativity and come up with innovative ideas to tackle the world’s biggest challenges using science, technology, engineering, art and/or mathematics.
The six winners, the real-life „Big Hero 6,“ will travel to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet at the film’s Hollywood premiere in early November, go behind the scenes and meet the creative minds at both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, join a special „Visioneering™“ experience at XPRIZE headquarters, plus other prizes.

Video Submissions will be judged on innovation, creativity and presentation. Twenty (20) finalists will be selected based on the highest scores resulting from preliminary scoring by XPRIZE judges. In mid October, a panel of luminary S.T.E.A.M. expert judges will evaluate the twenty finalists‘ submissions and six (6) winners will be selected through a combination of the expert judges‘ scores and public voting results.

Said Walt Disney Animation Studios President Ed Catmull, „We are thrilled to work with XPRIZE to find real-life young heroes whose desire is to tackle the world’s great challenges. It’s an honor for all of us at Walt Disney Animation Studios to welcome them at our Studio and at the premiere of „Big Hero 6.“

„The young people who win this contest will be real-world heroes, ready and willing to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing our world today,“ said Trish Halamandaris, senior vice president marketing & communications at XPRIZE. „The XPRIZE Foundation is excited to be conducting this competition that challenges young people to be bold, creative and smart, and to dare to think big. We believe that solutions to the problems facing humanity can come from anyone, anywhere, and one of these kids just might come up with an idea that can truly change the world.“

In addition to the trip to Los Angeles, the six winners will receive reimbursement for one (1) Contestant registration for FIRST® LEGO® League for the competition season 2014-2015 in the US or Canada, and a Special littleBits® NASA Space Kit and cloudBit™ Starter Kit.

The contest is open for submissions from September 17, 2014, to October 12, 2014.

Participating kids will compete in two divisions: Junior Division (8-12 years of age), and Senior Division (13–17 years of age). All entrants must have prior consent from their parent or legal guardian in order to participate in the challenge. Registration details are available at xprizechallenge.org/bighero6.

The video submissions may involve a short story, sculpture, drawing, model, robot or whatever method best communicates the idea in the most creative way (please see Official Rules for further details, restrictions and limitations). They will be scored on how well they explain the problem, show their solution, and explain what they learned and the impact their idea would have on themselves and the world. The more creative and engaging their presentation is, the better their chance of winning.

Supporting XPRIZE Partners include FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), littleBits Electronics and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Challenge registration and video submissions start September 17, 2014, and end October 12, 2014. Public Voting will start October 15, 2014 and end October 19, 2014. Open to legal residents of US and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are ages 8 through 17 before September 17, 2014. Parental consent is required. Travel must occur on November 2-6, 2014 (or such other dates designated by Sponsor). For details, restrictions, and limitations and to enter, please visit Official Rules at: xprizechallenge.org/bighero6. Sole Sponsor: XPRIZE.