Shaping a Better Future: City Shaper Innovation Challenge

July 8, 2020

FIRST LEGO League has always been about more than just robots. Every year, students around the world use their innovative thinking skills to explore a new theme and create a project that improves their neighborhood, city, or even the world. This year, the theme is CITY SHAPER, which focuses on how we can improve city life.

For our City Shaper Innovation Challenge and to help build a better future, our FIRST LEGO League teams researched a problem that mattered to them, created an innovative solution to improve their community, Our team received a wide-variety of submissions and we want to share their ideas with you!

Project Name: Fire Escape Wheelchair Ramp (FEWR)

Team: The TECH Hoppers


Living on Roosevelt Island surrounded by over 800 mobility impaired persons, the TECH Hoppers were inspired to find a safe way for people with limited mobility, such as wheelchair users, to evacuate buildings in case of emergencies. After doing their research on pre-existing “solutions”, they discovered that many are expensive and require someone else’s assistance. By putting themselves in the shoes of those who are mobility impaired and speaking with experts, the TECH Hoppers have come up with a solution. Their goals were to decrease the slope of the ramp, allow the wheelchair to leave the bottom of the ramp smoothly, return the mechanism to the top of the stairs for the next user, and be able to fold the platform into the wall to make the stair accessible for others. Inspired by tape measures, retractable dog leashes, and lanyard wheels, this team created a fold-out ramp using a spring mechanism that doesn’t require electricity to work that will return back to the top of the stairs ready for the next user. 

Project Name: Modeling Gas Station

Team: Chargers


Leslie identified a problem in her local community that affected not only the driving population but also children in her area. The current gas station lacks modern infrastructure amongst other things such as an advantageous floor planning and architecture. She took it upon herself to redesign the gas station making it sustainable as well as marketable. This would not only bring in profit to help her community but also decrease crime rates and dissuade children from feeling scared.

Project Name: The Green Wall for Everyone

Team: Avenues Shapieators


After brainstorming how they could improve their neighborhood, Chelsea, Avenues Shapieators decided that they wanted to improve public housing. After watching the documentary “Class Divide” the students learned about the wealth divisions within their community. They began to explore their neighborhood and compile a list of questions they would then ask to Ms. Waters, president of the Chelsea-Elliott Housing Association, and Ms. Barbara, a long time resident. Avenues Shapieators used upcycled materials, pathos plants, and LED lights to create a self-watering system for their green wall to help brighten up the lobby of the Chelsea-Elliott building. By being innovative and reusing materials this team was able to create this project for only $62.37. 

Project Name: Good City

Team: Amore and Tabor


Inspired by excessive pollution in NYC, Amora and Tabor crafted a city, ingeniously named Good City. Their fabrication alleviates the toll greenhouse gasses take on the ozone layer. Its abundance of trees, clean energy sources, as well as animals sets it apart. All of their buildings are powered by solar panels. Not only that, Amora and Tabor recognized transportation as a major contributor to pollution, thus, their city has no cars and its main methods of transportation are canoes and solar trains. 

Project Name: P.A.S.I.V.E. (Parking Abuse Scanning Identification Video Equipment)

Team: IS 51 RoboSpartans, Team #34369


Handicap parking abuse is an often overlooked yet prominent issue in the RoboSpartans’ community. After intense research and conversations with politicians and professionals they wanted to prevent illegal handicap parking. Their solution is called PASSIVE and it stands for Parking Scanning Identification Video Equipment. Their clever innovation includes an RFID chip infused video camera that will scan the card on the Disability Parking Permit that approved drivers will carry. The RFID reader will detect illegal parkers and then send the license number to precinct. Consequently, the violator will receive a ticket in the mail. For their prototype, the team spent a total of $36. They bought RFID chips and readers to create their prototype. They even went to the extent to make their prototype a reality by talking to their councilman, Joseph Boreli. Impressed with their innovation, Mr. Boreli and RoboSpartans will soon schedule a meeting with the department of education to further discuss their idea. 

Project Name: A League of Their Own with the Challenger Training Facility

Team: St. Clare Transformers 2


For many years the St. Clare FLL teams have been helping out at the Great Kills Little League by helping children with disabilities play baseball. While helping out, they noticed that participation in the league was down and that the league had never attended a Little League World Series. The St. Clare Transformers 2 came to the conclusion that they need to modernize the already existing strategy that is used to coach these children in baseball. Their solution is the Challenger Training Facility, a program that not only addresses the lack of participation, but the need for a new strategy as well. The program is for children ages 8-16, who the league did not previously have a team for yet. C.T.F. will provide these children with Ipads and robots to give them a hands on learning experience prior to even getting on the field. The program will not only help newcomers in the league, but encourage old members to keep learning as well.

Project Name: Food Saver

Team: Detective I.


After experiencing a power outage in Manhattan, Detective I. came up with a solution to ensure that perishable foods would not spoil in the case of another power outage, called the Food Saver. Just like any ordinary refrigerator, the Food Saver is used to keep food cold. Using 4, 120 volt batteries this invention would hold up for a full day. Detective I. did their research for this invention using The Explain Channel on Youtube

Project Name: Schools: Barrier-free, Food Security, and more

Team: Cyber Venomous Jelly Sharks


Cyber Venomous Jelly Sharks took on multiple challenges within their school building. They attacked Food Security by designing systems that would integrate organic architecture into their school. The next problem they wanted to tackle was making their school barrier-free. To make it more easy for students with disabilities to travel around campus the team designed a chair lift. The team also took inspiration from a woman in Germany who is in a wheelchair and designed their own ramps out of lego bricks.

Project Name: The Climate Squad

Team: The Veggie Nuggets


The Climate Squad is saving the Earth by making their school more eco - friendly! Before schools made the transition to online learning, this team reached out to their principal and administration to implement their plan in their very own cafeteria. The Climate Squad took on the responsibility of teaching their classmates how to properly sort trash. When schools closed, The Climate Squad did not let that stop them. With some help from GitHub, this team used HTML and CSS code to create their own website that raises awareness towards being eco - friendly. The website includes things such as helpful resources so that people can educate themselves on the topic, as well as a game that mimics sorting trash.