Three Harker middle school students and one former Harker student teamed up recently to win a First Lego League (FLL) robotics competition by employing water electrolysis to demonstrate an innovative way to stop the spread of salmonella in food production.
Derek Kuo, Rajiv Movva and Shaya Zarkesh, and Niko Bhatia, now of Menlo School, all grade 6, are members of the “G3ARZ” robotics team that participated in FLL’s “Food Factor” competition, which had teams devise ways to sanitize food and keep it from spoiling. Their idea provided a solution to the problem of unsanitary blades spreading salmonella while processing chicken. The key component was water electrolysis technology produced by a Minnesota-based company called ActiveIon.
The team contacted the company and presented their solution to its marketing director. Impressed with their ideas, ActiveIon arranged to have some of their products sent to the students. Using these products, they developed a way to sanitize blades between slices to prevent the spread of salmonella. The students even developed a patent for this new process and submitted to the FLL’s Global Innovation Award contest.
G3ARZ went on to win the Food Factor competition at West Valley Middle School in late November in the Project, Robot Game and Core Values categories. They also took the top spot in that event’s robotics contest. They also won first place in Mechanical Design at a Jan. 22 contest at Newark Memorial High School.
G3ARZ have also launched their own website at www.g3arz.com.