May 112011
 

MARIETTA, Ga. — Even at 10 years old, Quinn is wise enough to surround himself with GENIUS.

GENIUS is an acronym for Girls Exploring New Ideas Using Science and it’s the name for a group of Girls Scouts of Greater Atlanta who are proof girls shouldn’t shy-away from science, technology and math.

A few months ago, while at a restaurant, GENIUS members realized Quinn, who uses an electric wheelchair, had a problem backing up.

“You were at another table,” Amanda, a GENIUS member, reminded Quinn. “And, you were backing up to the guys in back of you.”

“Yeah,” he recalled. “I turned and swung around and hit the tables.”

The GENIUS team decided to design something to help. They created The Body Backward, a camera system designed to solve the problem of limited visibility behind wheelchairs. The team came up with this idea as part of their research project for this year’s FIRST LEGO League Body Forward challenge.

“The theme this year is biomedical engineering,” said team member Aiden.

“We had the camera attached to the back of the chair and there’s also a monitor on the chair, and when it’s turned on, you can see everything behind you in a 130 degree field of vision,” said fellow GENIUS member Annika.

“We installed a touch sensor,” added another team member, Grayson. “When the wheelchair backs up close to something, a programmed voice on the wheelchair says ‘Object detected. Watch out! Watch out!'”

GENIUS not only snagged a first place award in the FIRST LEGO League Georgia Championship, but the team also recently won the Make A Difference Judge’s award at the FIRST ROBOTICS World Festival in St. Louis.

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