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Middle Schooler Wins FIRST® LEGO® League Competition Using iRise

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Most middle schoolers are focused on convincing their parents they need an iPhone, scoring tickets to the Justin Bieber concert, or finding the perfect outfit for the upcoming school dance– but not Ben. 

Ben DiFilippi, a middle school student at the Packer Collegiate Institute, had a mission. His 85-year-old grandmother and her caretakers needed a better way to keep track of all of her health information so she could continue to live independently. This included doctor’s orders, medication, nutrition, logistical information, and more.

Coincidentally, FIRST® LEGO® League, an organization Ben had been involved with through his school’s robotics team for five years, had announced “Senior Solutions” as its theme for the 2012-2013 season. Teams were challenged to develop innovative ways to make the lives of the elderly easier and healthier. With his family’s concerns top of mind, Ben thought of the idea to create an app to help his grandmother and her caregivers manage all the details necessary to enable her to continue to live safely in her own home. After getting to know more about her needs, Ben’s team enthusiastically decided to “sponsor” his grandmother and embraced the idea of development of an app to assist her and others like her.

Ben had heard about iRise through a friend’s parent and downloaded the free trial. Using iRise Ben and his team were able to simulate the app they wanted to create. Being able to put an abstract concept into something tangible for the judges to see allowed Ben’s team to show their idea in action. “iRise was easy to use,” said Ben. “It enabled me to develop a solution for an important need, one that not only will help my family but possibly thousands of others as well.” In addition to conducting research about the potential real-life usefulness of such an app, Ben and his teammates were able to get the app validated through surveys and interviews with his grandmother, care facility executives, caretakers, family members, doctors, and others. 

Ben’s team “The Bearded Bobs” received the 1st Place Award for “Innovative Solution” and as a result, will advance to the next round of competition at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on March 9. We’ll be cheering you and your team on, Ben!


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