Shoal River students eye innovation award


Shoal River Middle School’s MustLego members — displaying several trophies they won from First Lego League tournaments — have submitted a solution for glaucoma patients in their bid for a Global Innovation Award. Top row, from left, are Rollin Cluff, Joe Gelzer and Jacob Thursby. Bottom row includes Zachary Fox, Noah Frank and Braden Newell.

MATTHEW BROWN / News Bulletin
Published: Monday, March 4, 2013 at 11:25 AM.

CRESTVIEW — Six Shoal River Middle School students on the MustLego robotics team have submitted an idea to win a Global Innovation Award and $20,000 to make it a reality.

MustLego is one of the school’s three First Lego League teams working with Lego robotics to perform automated tasks and use teamwork to solve everyday problems.

Recently, all of the league’s teams had to find a solution for seniors that deal with loss of sight, hearing or memory from Alzheimer's disease. Each team worked with a senior citizen who provided insight on each problem and input on the solution.

"Our senior partner has a friend that has glaucoma, so we were thinking that we could help out with that,” Jacob Thursby, 12, said. Glaucoma involves a number of eye conditions that cause optic nerve damage and gradual loss of sight. 

The team learned that glaucoma takes different forms, including open-angle glaucoma, which occurs when the eye's drainage canals clog overtime.

"We researched it and figured out the best way to get to it was through the nose," Jacob said.

With help from local optometrist Dr. Amy Riggs and Jacob's mother, a licensed nurse practitioner, the boys created a nasal spray called Eye Max. It contains the same chemicals found in most eye drops and oral treatments, but nasal spray would be more user-friendly, students said.

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