Winners of the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition have been announced, the judging panel crowning schoolchildren and undergraduates teams for their innovative ideas.
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Announced at the Science Museum, groups presented their programming inventions – designed to a brief to help the environment – to a judging panel which included Cambridge University’s professor of computer technology, Andy Hopper; BBC technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones; and Raspberry Pi’s director of educational development, Clive Beale.
Anita Chandraker, head of IT delivery at PA Consulting Group, said: “As there was so much enthusiasm around last year’s competition, we wanted to give schoolchildren and university students another chance to develop their programming skills and show off their creativity and passion for technology.
“The inventions we have seen show tremendous potential and highlight some of the incredible things that can be achieved through programming. I hope that the teams will build on the programming skills, team work and creativity that were required for this challenge and inspire many more young people to get involved.”
- Primary school ages 8 – 11: St Mary’s CE Primary School, Horsham
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St Mary’s CE Primary School, Horsham created a robot designed to teach children the importance of recycling and to recycle. The invention was designed for children aged four to seven.
The winning team designed the robot to scan household items, which then tells the user whether or not it can be recycled and, if so, which bin to use.
Judges said St Mary’s won because: “An incredibly energetic team bursting with ideas, the children were able to clearly explain how this product could be rolled out nationwide.”
Other finalists in this category were Mereside Primary School and Norton Community Primary School.
- Secondary school ages 11 – 16: Frome Community College, Somerset
Frome Community College’s winning entry was invented to enable people to remotely monitor the environmental conditions in their garden. The invention was named "Plant Pi" and attaches to sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, light intensity, rain and soil moisture. The information is relayed to the user through the web. Plants can be watered at the press of a button and the device automatically waters plants if the soil moisture fails below a certain level.
Judges said the team won because: “The invention was brilliantly conceived from start to finish. The conception, design and engineering of the Plant Pi were all impressive.”
Other finalists in this category were Richard Lander School, Tanbridge House School and Highgate School.
- Secondary school age 16 – 18: Newcastle College – Digital Skills Academy
Newcastle College invented a device which gives early warning signs of forest fires. The invention gathers data through moisture and humidity sensors and has been programmed to automatically upload the data to a website. The device recognises when readings dip below certain levels and sends an email alert to local authorities, warning them of conditions that could lead to a fire.
Judges said the team won because: “This device is a very interesting take on a serious problem. There was great teamwork in evidence and all members of the team contributed different skills to the final innovation.”
Other finalists in this category included Haileybury School and St Mary’s Cambridge.
- Undergraduates: Exeter University
Exeter University invented the "PiPark" to help drivers find empty parking spaces in cities and towns. It was invented to reduce emissions while cars look for parking spaces during peak traffic hours. The device uses a camera which relays parking-space availability to a central server. The server presents the data on a webpage, where users can view available parking spaces.
The judges said the entry won because: “The team gave a slick and impressive presentation that took the judges through every step of the process. This project showed a huge variety of skills – from communications to user interface.”
Other finalists in this category included University of Birmingham and Newcastle University.