Almost a  year ago, Team #19625, Techno Storm, competed at the state Championship but did not qualify for post-season competition at World Festival. Undeterred, these middle school students from Ohio, USA, pursued a partnership with Honda and made their HYDRO DYNAMICSprototype a reality. Their story has been featured in this video by Honda:

We caught up with the team to learn more about this story.

In January, six central Ohio teams advanced to compete in the Ohio FIRST® LEGO® League Championship at Wright State University. Team Techno Storm was among them.

Techno Storm had been working with their coach, Ray Khouw, to come up with an irrigation solution.

Their idea was for a water collection system, called a water catcher. “We found a way to get water for a garden that is not from the city water source,” said team member Thanish. The main component is a special mesh. Wind or moisture goes through the mesh and leaves droplets of water, which can be captured.

With the competition done in February, Coach Khouw asked them “Okay, what do you want to do with this?”

The team hadn’t yet built a successful prototype of their idea.

“We were looking online for more research. Then one of our team members found the Honda Smart Home,” said team member Sara. The Honda Smart Home is a demonstration home for zero-carbon living and personal mobility technologies. It’s located in Davis, CA and its project leader is Michael Koenig.

Coach Khouw, an engineer at Honda R&D Americas, Inc., advised the team not to mention to Koenig that he worked for Honda. He wanted the team to do this on its own.

“We emailed Michael Koenig,” said team member Pranav. “[We told him] about the water catcher and how he can incorporate it into the Honda Smart Home.”

A few weeks later, Koenig responded with interest. The team flew out to California, where they installed the water catcher prototype into the Honda Smart Home garden.

Khouw is proud and happy for the team. “This experience of making the prototype, putting it together and seeing it – so you can touch a product you designed — that’s something we do at Honda every day. I’m very proud to give them something that is probably the chance of a lifetime for them.”

Read further:

Honda R&D Americas engineer inspires students with joy of making things
Honda R&D Americas engineer helps students develop new technology

Have a team story you want to share? Post it to @firstlegoleague or email