Innovation Summit 2013 Photo Montage-Students Showcase their Innovation

A tech-savvy group of junior high students presented its award-winning robot to innovation leaders from around the world at the province’s first Innovation Summit on April 16, 2013.

The experience brings the all-girls team one step closer to showcasing its innovation on the international stage when they compete at the FIRST LEGO World Festival and Championship in St. Louis later this month.

“This team is an inspiration to any girl who thinks science and math is not for them,” said Premier Darrell Dexter, who opened the Innovation Summit in Halifax. “These amazing young ladies took a smart idea and turned it into a marketable product that is so amazing they are working to patent it. That is the kind of ingenuity we want to support in Nova Scotia.”

The girls designed and programmed a robotic sensor to help seniors. The device attaches to a walker and alerts the user when they are beginning to lose their balance.

The province is giving the Bedford-based, iMoe Robotics team more than $4,000 toward their trip to the competition on April 24-27. The girls qualified by winning the provincial title at the league’s Acadia University Robot Programming Competition last February.

“Participating in the FIRST LEGO League really boosts my confidence, knowing that anything that I want to do, I can do right here in Nova Scotia,” said team member Olivia Warrington. “I don’t have to travel all over the world looking for the perfect job, because now I know that I can find it here.”

The rest of the team includes Madison Presunka, Isabel Sarty and Emma Travers, students at Bedford and Gorsebrook junior high schools.

The girls are making and selling Lego jewelry to raise money for their trip. The premier purchased a pair of Lego cufflinks, which he was sporting at the Innovation Summit this morning.

“These young ladies aren’t just inventors, they are entrepreneurs,” Premier Dexter said. “I’m happy to support them by wearing these cufflinks, a sign of the great young minds in Nova Scotia who will help this province turn the corner to a better future.”

The FIRST LEGO League is an international program designed to get kids age nine to 14 interested in science and technology. The girls will compete with teams from more than 40 countries for the world title.

“One of the keys to Nova Scotia’s success is making sure young people with bright ideas are connected with the mentors, money and connections they need to turn their ideas into careers, here at home,” said Premier Dexter. “The province is pleased to help these girls take their invention to St. Louis so they can wow the world.”

Young Nova Scotians are thriving in these international competitions. In 2012, Nova Scotia students competed internationally in the North American Open Championship at LEGOLAND in California and were awarded first prize for robot technical design. Students from team Les Vipères, from Centre scolaire de la Rive-Sud, Cookville, Lunenburg Co., were challenged to research food safety issues as part of the program, and are now seeking a provisional patent for robotically assisted delivery and storage of locally produced farm goods.

Press Release from Premier’s Office.

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