You can help Lego Bistro earn the FLL Global Innovation Award! Please use this link to be taken to the FLL site where you can vote daily for our invention: Grocery Store Produce Germ Eliminator.

The top 10 teams will get their idea reviewed by the final panel of judges. The top winner will receive a $250,000 grant to develop and market their idea.

Use this link to place your vote. No personal information is needed--it is a simple 10 second process. Voting identification is based on your IP address. You can vote once for each 24 hour period!

Sunday, January 29

Salt Lake Tribune Post About the FLL Championship

Salt Lake Tribune Highlights the Winners of the Utah FLL Championship

Happy Day!

Lego Bistro had a blast at the Utah FIRST Lego League Championship yesterday. Lego Bistro earned themselves the "Innovative Solution Award" and the judges comment was "They just nailed it!"

You can expect great things from this team! Friday we met with Antczak Polich Law, one of our sponsors, who mentored the team by helping them think through the details that remain to be discovered. Val Antczak let them know he had done his own research and found that the FDA has already approved the solution the team is proposing. They simply need to ensure that the method they are proposing falls within the acceptable use guidelines of the government.

The next step? Earning a development grant that will allow Lego Bistro to take their idea to market. Voting continues, and Lego Bistro is eligible to win big--$250,000 big-- through the FLL Global Innovation Award. Vote daily to ensure their idea makes it to the top 10 competitors. Currently, we are in 66th place--not bad for a team that just entered this race a few days ago, but we need to make significant progress. You can help by voting daily!

Thursday, January 26

VOTE NOW! And pass the link on!

You can help Lego Bistro earn the FLL Global Innovation Award! Please vote daily for our invention: Grocery Store Produce Germ Eliminator.

Use this link to place your vote. You can vote once for each 24 hour period!

Grocery Store Produce Germ Eliminator

You've bought produce from a grocery store before, and so Lego Bistro's project idea can help you! Our team's idea is a simple solution that helps reduce or eliminate surface bacteria on produce, helping produce distributors and consumers.

All fresh produce has bacteria on it, like e-coli, salmonella and Listeria. Listeria is an especially nasty kind of bacteria because it continues to grow in cold temperatures. It can be killed by cooking food, but we don't cook all our fresh fruits and vegetables. Because people can get sick and even die from these bacteria, its presence can lead to costly produce recalls. Two recent examples of Listeria contaminated produce are the lettuce and cantaloupe recalls in 2011.

In developing a solution to avoid these costly recalls, the team studied science articles. We also talked to a manager at Stauffer's Foods, a water treatment specialist from Los Angeles, California, and a plumber who has experience installing chemical pumps. We spoke with three produce managers at grocery stores in our area about our idea, and even performed an experiment to decide which cleaner to use and make sure it wouldn't adversely affect the produce.

Our innovative idea includes a pump that is installed in-line with produce sprayers at the wet-rack of grocery stores. The pump forces a tested solution into the purified water which safely kills surface bacteria, like listeria, off produce. Our team has studied several different sources to find just the right solution. We have also performed an experiment to help us find one that will clean without damaging the produce. In our experiment, we found that produce sprayed with the solution actually lasted longer than produce that was sprayed with purified water alone! Besides being effective, it is also completely safe to use. When we spoke with grocery store managers to present our idea, two of three managers were interesting in installing the pump and solution. Lego Bistro is currently working toward FDA approval to use this solution in grocery stores.

Lego Bistro to compete at state championship!

Lego Bistro will be participating in a FIRST Lego League robotics championship at the University of Utah. To participate, the team had to prepare presentations in 3 categories:

**robotics challenges (they design, built, and program a Lego NXT robot--they are judged on their robot and programming designs and go head to head with other teams to see which team can score the most points in 2.5 minutes),

**teamwork (they are given a group task and are judged on how well they work together), and

**a project (they are judged on their innovative solution to a real world problem related to food borne illness).

The category our team really shines in is the project. We earned first place for that category at our regional competition. It is essentially a chemical injector pump that is installed in-line at the grocery store produce areas to spray a special solution on fruits and vegetables to help kill bacteria on the surface of the produce. In addition to hours of research, the team has performed an experiment to determine the best solution, met with a plumber to design a model of their idea, and presented to several grocery stores in our area. They found that produce sprayed with the special solution actually lasts longer than produce sprayed with purified water (as is used currently in the stores). The installation and upkeep of the system is affordable, and the last produce manager the team talked to was interested in installing it--but for one thing: FDA approval. So, the team decided to speak with a lawyer about the FDA approval process. That will happen this week. The next step for the team is applying for the Edison Global Innovation Award--more info on that later!

The state finals are all day this Saturday. Some of you locals might like to be there! Although the judging is closed to the public (even coaches don't get to watch), the robot challenges are open and fun to watch. If you'd like to come cheer us on, wear red and look for Lego Bistro!

For more information on Saturday's event: