Smart Wear triumphs at Appathon UK competition

Notre Dame High School and University of Cambridge win trip to Silicon Valley during awards ceremony at House of Commons

Notre Dame High School in Inverclyde and a team from the University of Cambridge have bagged themselves a trip to Silicon Valley after being crowned winners of the Appathon UK at the House of Commons on 20 November 2014.  

Appathon UK is a competition launched by the entrepreneurial education network Founders4Schools and not-for-profit technology events organisation Silicon Valley Comes to the UK (SVC2UK), which challenges young people to find technology solutions for the challenges around them.

The winning team beat more than 100 schools with their app idea Smart Wear. During their trip the team will have the chance to visit the headquarters of tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Linkedin.

Pupils from Notre Dame High School initially came up with the idea of an app that allows users to organise their clothes in a revolving carousel wardrobe called Smart Wardrobe. The app enables users to upload their own garments and set up an avatar of themselves. Outfits can be found by type, colour and brand, and it also assists in buying clothing from online stores.

A team of students from the University of Cambridge selected the app idea to turn into a prototype, which became Smart Wear. The team built the prototype based on user experience, target audience, scalability and income generation.

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Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow was present at the awards ceremony to congratulate the winning teams.

“The Appathon is about schools and universities effectively working together, which is a very good example of collaboration between younger and older students," he said.

“I hope as you’ve thought on your ideas you have thought of being an entrepreneur yourself. A clever person who comes up with an idea not only has a lot of fun, but also makes a lot of money. This is a great competition to get people thinking about technology and starting businesses,” he added.

All other finalists received a slew of prizes that were on offer from sponsors, including free workshops at Codecademy, tours of the BBC and Mind Candy, and several mentoring packages.

Other finalist app ideas included Waterworks, which uses GPS to find your location and tell you if the water is safe to drink, and Supa Calc, which is a calculator that gives examples on how to work out a sum in addition to the answer.

Initiatives like this one not only boost innovation in schools, but they are critical in addressing the digital skills crisis

Sherry Coutu, Founders4School

History Hunter was an app designed by a team from St Thomas the Apostle College during a recent workshop at Kuato Studios. The encyclopaedia and video game app teaches history in an entertaining way to engage the user. 

Three London schools were invited to take part in the Kuato Studios Appathon workshop to share ideas; meet with designers, developers and artists; and learn about careers in the IT industry.

Appathon workshops took place up and down the country to prepare prototypes, including several Google-supported workshops at startup incubator IncuBus Ventures.

Founders of IncuBus Ventures Rishi Chowdhury and George Johnston gave university students space to interpret the submitted projects, which is where the apps Paint with Friends, Quick Coffee and Green Seed were built.

Sherry Coutu, who chairs Founders4School, said the organisation is delighted to have invited school children to create app ideas for the first time.

“Their submissions have been tremendous and provided university students with a wealth of ideas from which some brilliant prototypes have been created," she said.

“Congratulations to Notre Dame High School and the Cambridge University team for winning the trip to Silicon Valley – very well deserved. Initiatives like this one not only boost innovation in schools, but they are critical in addressing the digital skills crisis by showing students what it’s like to create the technology they use in their everyday lives, not just use it.”

2014 Finalists

App School and University team
Clever Creatures Chepstow House School, London, and Cambridge University
Smart Wear Notre Dame High School, Inverclyde, and Cambridge University
Dig-I-Spy Merton Park Primary School, London, and Merton Park Primary School
History Hunter St Thomas the Apostle College, London
Paint With Friends Martins Wood Primary School, Herts, and Students at the IncuBus, London
Mayhem Mansion Chepstow House, London, and Cambridge University
WaterWorks Highgate Wood School, London, and Edinburgh University
Job Matcher John Lyon School, Harrow and University College London
Food 4 Thought Abbotsfield Post 16 Centre, London, and Cambridge University
Green Seed Highgate Wood School, London
Quick Coffee Forest School, London
Billy the Silly Chepstow House School, London
ORBIS Hendon School, London
How do I...? Glenmoor School, Bournemouth
BRAINZEE Central Sussex College, Crawley
Uber Cam Winton Arts and Media College, Bournemouth
Supa Calc Campbell College Belmont Road, Belfast


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