Award-winning NJ students create LEGO solution to flooding problems

NEW PROVIDENCE, N.J. (PIX11) – Students at The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in New Jersey are loud and proud.

Their Panther Power Robotics Team took second place for innovative solution in the National First LEGO League competition in California.

The Panthers built a programmed a robot to complete a number of tasks, but it was their innovative solution that put them over the top.

To meet the competition’s “Nature’s Fury” theme, the students collaborated with their local police departments to identify public safety concerns in their town, which borders the Passaic River. At the top of the list was flooding.

And so, the Stickler of Safety – or “SOS” – was born.

The students’ creation can help emergency responders check for uncovered manhole covers during flooding, a problem they ran into when Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast. A rubber grip attached to the SOS prevents slippage and, more importantly, prevents it from conducting electricity.

The tools are now being used by the New Providence and Springfield police departments, officers from which used wooden sticks prior to the kids’ innovation.

Team coach Alys Tyler couldn’t be more proud of her students.

“They came up with the design. They went to the Home Depot, played with lots of supplies and just came up with their whole SOS,” Tyler said.

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