Youth robotics team to display invention at innovation event

  • Blazing Stars team members, from left, are Daksh Guard, Atishay Patni, Pratyush Kumar, Isha Guard, Mrs. Juneja. Not pictured is Pratham Perumalla.

    Blazing Stars team members, from left, are Daksh Guard, Atishay Patni, Pratyush Kumar, Isha Guard, Mrs. Juneja. Not pictured is Pratham Perumalla. Courtesy of Kalpesh Guard

Updated 6/11/2021 2:03 PM

FIRST® LEGO® League announced 20 finalist teams that would advance to the 2021 FIRST® Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change.

Blazing Stars, from Buffalo Grove, was selected from entries from around the world for their outstanding solution that demonstrated innovation and the potential to add significant value in the world.


Blazing Stars for the Replay Season has invented UltraBlaze, a low-cost training skateboard equipped with object detection and warning system that provides an opportunity for visually impaired children ages 8-12 to explore the world of skateboarding with renewed confidence.

During the Replay Season, teams were challenged to design a creative new piece of technology or improve an existing one to solve people not being active enough. Blazing Stars will join other finalists from FIRST® Tech Challenge and FIRST® Robotics Competition in a remote event to showcase their solution, participate in workshops, be judged by experts and be mentored by industry leaders June 28-30.

On June 30 at 1:30 p.m. on the FIRSTtv Twitch channel, the Global Innovation Awards will culminate with an awards show broadcast. The winning team will be awarded experiential, one-of-a kind prizes from sponsors, including mentorship with top industry experts.

Additional awards will be given live to runners-up, including an Innovation Impact Award, Implementation Award, and Create Award. All teams will receive Star Wars: Force for Change commemorative items, designed exclusively and available only, to participants of the 2021 FIRST Global Innovation Awards.

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Teams participating in the FIRST Global Innovation Awards must consider possible barriers to implementation, document the evaluation of their invention and validate their design with professionals working in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

FIRST LEGO League is an international program for ages 9 to 16 created in a partnership between FIRST and the LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology.

Children work alongside adult coaches to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® and create an innovative solution to a real-world problem as part of their research project.

The FIRST Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change are designed to encourage and assist teams with the further development of their original and important ideas for solving global issues.


Together, Lucasfilm, Disney and FIRST are empowering the next generation of diverse creators, thinkers and leaders -- ensuring all young people have an opportunity to believe in possibilities, build new skills, and create a better future for themselves and the world.

Students emerge as strong visionaries and divergent thinkers capable of applying innovative thinking to any problem. From improvements to the water cycle, to innovative solutions to waste management, past FIRST LEGO League Innovation Project finalists have brought their inventions to market, received patents, and incorporated as businesses.

The 2021 Global Innovation Awards powered by Star Wars: Force for Change are sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Cheddar News, Collins Aerospace, John Deere, and LEGO Education, in collaboration with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Blazing Stars, a community-based team, was formed in 2017 with the help of dedicated parents and community members with a common goal of challenging students to problem solve and think creatively like engineers.

Since 2017, Blazing Stars has been sponsored by companies such as Culver's Lincolnshire (2018-2019), Top Daycare Centers (2017-to date) and Villas of Manchester Green, Buffalo Grove (2017-to date). For the 2020-2021 FIRST LEGO League Challenge Replay Season, Blazing Stars was awarded the ARCO Murray/Bike Ride kids grant.

Blazing Stars is coached by Mrs. Juneja (Mrs. J.), a retired Chicago Public School science teacher and current science tutor at Adlai Stevenson High School. The team is mentored by Daksh Guard, a 2020-2021 Adlai Stevenson High School graduate, 2025 Purdue University Indiana, and Pratham Perumalla, middle schooler from Aptakisic Junior High School.

Being a small community team, the three team members attend different middle schools. Isha Guard, with three years of robotic experience, attends Twin Grove Middle School-CCSD 96; and Atishay Patni, with two years of experience, and Pratyush Kumar, the youngest with a year experience under his belt, attend Aptakisic Junior High-CCSD 102.

For more information, contact Blazing Stars at, or follow at @blazingstars2017 and Instagram @blazingstars17

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