LOS ANGELES (October 28, 2014) –XPRIZE, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Disney Corporate Citizenship announced the winners of the DISNEY BIG HERO 6 – XPRIZE CHALLENGE today. Much like the characters in Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” people between the ages of 8 and 17 were asked to harness their creativity and come up with innovative ideas to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges using science, technology, engineering, art and/or mathematics (S.T.E.A.M.).
Hundreds of videos were submitted and narrowed down to 20 finalists. From there, 6 winners were selected based on a combination of public voting and the scores from a panel of judges: Dr. Ed Catmull, President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios; Gwynne Shotwell, president and CEO of SpaceX; Dean Kamen, an inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of FIRST ®; Anousheh Ansari, co-founder and chairwoman of Prodea Systems (and the first female private space explorer); and Jon Snoddy, VP, Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development.
The real-life “Big Hero 6” is comprised of:
- Kamran Ansari, age 9, of Tustin, California, devised a product packaging rating system in order to educate consumers on the wastefulness of a product’s packaging. His system enables the consumer to make environmentally conscious decisions and reduce their carbon footprint.
- Jasmyne Mendoza, age 11, of Seattle, Washington, developed a solution to world hunger by constructing a biosphere where salt water from our oceans is evaporated and distilled into clean drinking water.
- Dominick Quaye, age 12, of San Leandro, California, proposed a way to generate clean energy through the use of a high-altitude power generator held in place by massive weather balloons.
- Chase Lewis, age 15, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, invented a way to deliver emergency smoke masks to people trapped in burning buildings through the use of a football-shaped pod he designed and tested.
- Carolyn Mennecke, age 17, of Rochester, Minnesota, proposed a more effective way to improve windshield visibility using ultraviolet light sensors to reduce the glare of the sun at dawn and dusk.
- Kelsey Ann Murobayshi, age 17, of Honolulu, Hawaii, envisioned an innovative solution to safer and environmentally friendly transportation through the use of self-driving “pods”.
Said Catmull, “Watching the finalists’ submissions, I was so impressed by the creativity and passion in each of their videos. It was an absolute pleasure to be part of this judging panel. We look forward to hosting them at the Hollywood premiere of ‘Big Hero 6.’”
“At XPRIZE, we believe that innovation can come from anywhere and that the most effective way to address the world’s biggest problems is by tasking the public to come up with solutions,” said Trish Halamandaris, senior vice president marketing & communications at XPRIZE. “The creativity and ingenuity of the submissions for this contest reinforce this belief and prove that these young people are not the innovators of tomorrow but rather the innovators of today.”
The winners will travel to Los Angeles in November for three days of innovation and inspiration, including a private tour of Walt Disney Animation Studios, a meet-and-greet with the creative minds at Disney Imagineering, a special Visioneering™ experience at XPRIZE headquarters, and a walk down the red carpet at the Hollywood premiere of Disney’s Big Hero 6.