MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA – Top performing teams from the BEST Robotics competition were invited to provide solutions for Project Flash, a new MGMWERX Design Challenge. The STEAM Machine from Wetumpka High School, GEARS, Inc. from Eastwood and Cornerstone Schools, and Brewbaker Technology Magnet High School Robotics teams were given the challenge to create a protective shell for a raspberry pi computer and battery. When used in the field, the protected computer will be dropped from an aircraft into military zones. This challenge was brought to the MGMWERX team by the Blue Horizons research task force to assist in providing solutions.

“All three schools were given the exact same rules and parameters to the challenge with less than 10 days from start to prototype submission. Yet between the three different teams, they were able to create and test at least 20 different prototypes, and not one was the same as the other,” shared Eric Gerritson, Innovation and Collaboration Principal. “The power of the network coupled with the speed and agility of innovation was absolutely staggering!”

On February 18, the teams presented solutions to Air University Leadership, Blue Horizons team members, and MGMWERX team members.  Each team presented its research and rationale for their proposed solutions. The prototypes were displayed for view in the MGMWERX Innovation hub in science-fair style.

“The level of effort and thought that went into this challenge far exceeded everything we could have expected! While working on projects, it is easy to get fixated on that “one way” of doing things,” stated Major Khris Krueger, a member of the Blue Horizons research task force. “However, having a fresh set of perspectives on a particular problem can help identify areas that may not have been previously thought about or, as we saw at the competition, a whole new design that meets all of the requirements of the challenge.”

Each team was presented with a coin and a Letter of Appreciation from Brigadier General Sloane, Commandant of Air War College. Lieutenant General Hecker, Air University Commander, closed out the evening by sharing his enthusiasm and gratitude to the students and their coaches for participating in this very difficult challenge. The Blue Horizons team informed the students that they will test each prototype in flight and provide an update. The winning team will be awarded a monetary prize and their solution may go on to be mass-produced and used by the United States Air Force.