A wearable app for tracking people with dementia, a wristband that tells you if you have eaten your five-a-day, and play parks that generate power.
Secondary school students have come up with an array of creative and technology-fuelled ideas to make life better and simpler.
It is all part of the TeenTech Awards, for which students, aged 11 to 16, working in groups of three, were challenged to search for scientific and technological solutions to real problems.
The best of these inventions and designs went on show at the finals in London recently, which featured more than 100 students and saw awards handed out across 15 categories, including environment, transport, healthcare and wearable technology.
A team from Birkdale School in Sheffield was crowned the overall winner for its idea to make cars safer by lowering the risk of slipping in bad conditions.
Students Max and James, both 15, explained: “Our idea was that if a fan was used to suck the car down to the road, traction levels would be higher so in wet or icy conditions, the car would be a lot safer. We drew a digital sketch based on the science behind it and have since been through lots of models and prototypes. We’ve been through a lot of trial and error.”
The students are now hoping to get further industry advice on how to “commercialise” their idea.
Other winning ideas included, in the energy category, a Playground Dynamo invented by students from Richard Lander School in Truro. The idea is that equipment such as round-a-bouts, see-saws and spinning swings generate electricity and/or pump water for rural communities in developing countries.
Students from The Hayfield School in Doncaster meanwhile invented “Snap-Wrap”, a watch or wristband which tells you whether you have eaten your five-a-day.
In the wearable technology category, students from Loreto Grammar School in Cheshire presented a device to help blind people get around using “echo-location”, while in the healthcare category, another Loreto team presented Dementiago, an anklet that tracks someone with dementia through an app which family members and carers have. Loreto teacher Elayne Manton was also honoured with the Teacher of the Year award.
Teen Tech’s patron Prince Andrew, Duke of York, said: “All these projects that you have undertaken are about problem-solving and that’s what is needed in the real world. The solutions you are finding could make a difference to a whole range of people, not only now but into the future.”
TeenTech is an industry-led initiative that offers students STEM-related experiences. At each TeenTech event, more than 120 scientists, technologists and engineers show off their latest technology in a bid to engage students in STEM.
For more information visit www.teentechevent.com
CAPTION: Tech talent: The team from Hayfield School with the Snap Wrap watches (top). Students Drew and Alessia discuss the idea with Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (above)