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TeenTech has chosen its 2018 winners of its annual awards, which challenges students in the UK to solve real-world problems using technology.
During a ceremony at the Royal Society, 22 groups of students were announced as winners and will be given the opportunity to present their ideas to the Duke of York.
This year’s winners worked to solve a range of real-world challenges by using technologies such as a drone that detects and absorbs pollutants, a medication dispenser for those who suffer with Alzheimer’s, and a solar-powered computer for teaching digital skills in underdeveloped parts of the world.
The awards are designed to encourage young people to become more engaged in subjects such as science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem), and provides participating students with access to mentors who can help them to plan and develop their innovations.
TeenTech co-founder and previous winner of Computer Weekly’s most influential women in UK tech award, Maggie Philbin, said: “The 2018 winners can be really proud of their achievements. The standard of entries was exceptionally high this year and demonstrate that, with support from the TeenTech Programme, teenagers can conceive and create incredible ideas and projects.
“This is vital in creating enthusiasm for engineering, science and technology in schools so that we can inspire the next generation of innovators.”
Almost 270 schools took part in this year’s challenge, totalling more than 1,500 students from across the UK and Europe. The innovations were judged by an expert panel, including theoretical physicist Jim Al-Khalili; science and tech reporter Dallas Campbell; president of techUK Jaqueline de Rojas; founder of Unruly, Sarah Wood; and head of BBC Science unit Andrew Cohen.
Research by TeenTech has found that the number of students who claimed to be interested in Stem careers increases by 22% once they have taken part in TeenTech programmes.
Many young people, especially girls, would like to have access to more role models in the industry to encourage them into technology careers, but this is also important to help young people, teachers and parents understand what is involved in a technology role.
TeenTech has found the number of students who say they understand the skills needed by employers increased by 34% once they had taken part in the programme and had the chance to interact with people from Stem companies.
Winners of 2018 TeenTech awards
BioPump – submitted to the Energy category by Loughborough Grammar School, the BioPump is a self-sufficient and environmentally friendly water pump.
Travel Anywhere Case – submitted to the Future of Rail category by Ranelagh School, this uses technology to combine a light travel case, workspace, seat and mode of transport.
Copper Assist and Simple Reminders – there are two winners for the Health category. Copper Assist, submitted by Sheffield High School, is a bandage with a patch of copper designed to help prevent infection after surgery. Simple Reminders, submitted by The Greenwich Free School, is a reminder app for families with family members who suffer from dementia.
Simpletexts – submitted to the Education category by Sandbach High School, this app scans text and attempts to simplify and summarise it to make it easier to understand.
Echolocanimals – submitted to the Wearable Tech category by Bromley High School, Echolocanimals are earrings which, paired with a smartphone, use ultrasound echolocation to help visually impaired people become more aware of their surroundings.
The Augmented Reality Comic Book – submitted to the Music, Media & Entertainment category by Evelyn Grace Academy, this innovation is a printed comic book that can be used alongside a smartphone app to gain an augmented reality (AR) videogame experience using your surroundings.
Geotex – submitted to the Environment category by Farlingaye High School, Geotex is a drone which can detect, analyse and identify pollutants in the air and purify them.
Project School – submitted to the Safety and Security category by Channing School, Project School is an app that helps to choose a safe route home for school children.
Fashion Fusion – submitted to the Fashion and Retail category by Farlingaye High School, this app helps users to log their clothing purchases and decide outfits so people don’t forget what clothes they have. It also aims to prevent waste by helping people to sell their unwanted clothes.
Contain Your Future – submitted to the Design and Construction category by Healing School, Contain Your Future is a housing project that aims to use shipping containers to create sustainable and affordable housing for homeless people in the Grimsby area.
AFRAPAK – submitted to the Future of Food category by Thurston Community School, AfraPak is a not-for-profit that aims to provide nutritional aid to impoverished parts of Africa.
LED Skateboard – submitted to the Future of Transport category by Minehead Middle School, the LED Skateboard has LED wheels and rims, as well as speakers for playing music.
Memory Medication – submitted to the Digital Skills category by Horbury Academy, this project is a medication dispenser to help people with Alzheimer's remember to take their pills.
Light Pollution? Why? – submitted to the Manufacturing category by Amelia Roberts School, this project aims to develop an attachment for existing lamp posts to cut down light pollution while still providing enough light for roads and streets.
Device to identify sugars in foods – submitted to the Research and Information Literacy category by The Ladies College, this device will aim to detect the amount of sugars and vitamin C in fruit juice and help to inform diabetics whether these drinks are a suitable choice for them.
Solar Pi – submitted to the Tech for All category by St George’s School, this device uses a Raspberry Pi and solar power to teach people in the developing world about digital skills and coding.
Aether Motion – winner of the Best Innovation: Concept category, WMG Academy proposed a project to develop a medical aid that helps to address psychological issues of patients.
Anti-motion Stabiliser – developed by Mill Hill School, the winner of the Best Innovation: Model, prototype or product category involves a device which helps to stabilise the tremors and movements of those suffering from Parkinson’s or other mobility diseases to help them perform simple tasks.
Under-representation of women in computer science – winner of the Best Research Project category, Oakham School suggested an inquiry into why there are so few women in computer science.
Sensor Track and Vertigo – the Data Science category has two winners for 2018. Sensor Track, from Sandbach High School, is a testing rig of infrared sensors positioned along a track to measure the time intervals between sensors being tripped so the time can then be analysed and improved if necessary. Vertigo, from Sutton Grammar School, is a data logger which tracks position, acceleration and rotation of an object to provide real-time feedback to wingsuit flyers.
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