Fourteen groups of finalists gathered yesterday at PA Consulting Group’s Cambridge Technology Centre for the awards ceremony of the PA and Raspberry Pi-making competition, where they presented their inventions to a hand-picked judging panel. The finalists’ ideas show the ingenuity of the next generation of Britain’s technologists and inventors.
Here is what three months, a £25 Raspberry Pi and up to £50 of additional hardware and software resulted in:
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Primary school: ages 8 – 11
The Richard Pate School
A system to help elderly or disabled people answer the door, especially people who have difficulty walking or who walk slowly. Elderly and disabled people sometimes take a very long time to reach the door to answer it. This system aims to eliminate that problem by letting the elderly or disabled person send a message to the person at the door and unlock the door remotely.
Why the team won: This project was brilliantly executed and there was really good team work to create the door answering system.
Finalists: East Sheen Primary School, Norton Community Primary School
Secondary school: ages 12 – 16
Remembering to take the right number of pills at the right time can be stressful, particularly for those who are elderly or very sick. This automated pill dispenser makes managing medicine easier: the Raspberry Pi connects a pill dispenser and GP, who can programme the administration of the drugs through a website. Correct dosages drop out of the Raspberry Pi controlled pill dispenser at the specified times. Meanwhile, if sensors detect pills haven’t moved once dispensed, an alert is sent to a family member or neighbour who can remind the patient.
Why the team won: This entry stood out amongst some outstanding projects in the category. It demonstrated good use of the hardware and software as well as showing superb team work.
Finalists: Haileybury School, Highgate School, Roedean School, Bedford Prep School
Secondary school: age 16 – 18
Living in a city and worried about the air you breathe? The air quality and weather surveillance station made with a Raspberry Pi will take in information about air quality through the attached sensors and upload it directly to the internet, where it can then be viewed on a smartphone or tablet. This device can measure temperature, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
Why the team won: The project was very impressive in its category and showed real foresight.
Finalists: Dulwich College, Haileybury School
This system enables home owners to monitor the electricity consumption of their home.
The electricity-consumption logging system was based on the communication protocol of an off-the-shelf wireless electricity monitor. The Raspberry Pi was a great choice for the host machine as its electricity consumption is negligible.
Why the team won: It was a really simple concept delivered brilliantly.
Finalist: Penguin Tutor
Alan Middleton, CEO of PA Consulting Group said: “At PA Consulting we believe that in order to unlock opportunities for growth in technology, it is vital to support those who have a talent and passion for technology and information science. This conviction – and our desire to increase enthusiasm for programming, engineering and technology – is the seed from which the PA Raspberry Pi-making Competition is born.”
Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi: “It has been thrilling to see how the Raspberry Pi has been used in such inventive ways in this competition. Both the programming and the ideas have been amazing. I hope all of the finalists are proud of their achievements and will continue with their coding.”
The panel of judges included: Clive Beale – Director of Education Development for the Raspberry Pi Foundation; Andy Hopper - President of the IET and head of computer technology at Cambridge University; Rory Cellan-Jones - BBC Technology Correspondent; Zillah Bing-Maddick - CEO of Trader Media group; Barak Regev - Cloud platform sales lead at Google and Anita Chandraker – Head of IT Delivery at PA Consulting Group.
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Find out more about the PA Raspberry Pi competition here.