They did it again. The remarkable Walking Lead robotics team from Glen Ames PS turned some more heads at the recent Ontario Innovation Celebration (OIC), where they were named one of three champions. The event featured the top 18 robotics teams made up of students aged 9-14 from across the province. In addition to Glen Ames PS, TDSB was also represented by West Rouge Jr PS and Sir Ernest MacMillan Sr PS. Each team at the OIC was invited to compete by virtue of their performance at qualifying competitions. For the Walking Lead, they starred in January at the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) East Provincial Championship.
The Glen Ames team and the two other OIC champions now have an opportunity to apply to represent Ontario at The Global Innovation Awards (GIA), set for June 19-21 in San Jose, California. Last year, a team from Ontario won the GIA and the $20,000 top prize to take their product to the next level.
Glen Ames PS teacher and coach Luke Martin was beaming about his team’s latest achievement. “What made us stand out was probably the magnitude and importance of the issue we were dealing with,” he said. In this year’s water-themed challenge, teams were tasked with identifying and solving a problem involving the way people find, transport, use, or dispose of water. The Walking Lead have developed a device called The Royal Flush, which, based on temperature, automatically flushes tap water to ensure it remains virtually free of any lead that might otherwise accumulate. Martin said that the changes to the product and the overwhelming support and endorsement from industry experts also helped the team’s work stand out for the OIC judges. “As the Water Brothers http://thewaterbrothers.ca/ tell us,” added the coach, “you are what you eat but even more what you drink!”
The team has already significantly reduced the cost to produce the product and is currently working with a tech company to make the next version even smaller and less expensive before the team sets out for international competition.
As a result of its winning performance at provincial championship in January, the next stop for the Walking Lead is the US Open Championship in Carlsbad CA May 16-21, with a possible encore at the GIA to follow.
Get ready, world; here come the Walking Lead.