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PA Consulting encourages young people to develop new applications for Raspberry Pi

Matthew Gooding

Cambridge News

13 January 2015

This article first appeared in Cambridge News.

Putting 'cool uses of Raspberry Pi' in to Google returns a long and colourful list  of devices made using the single-board computer developed in Cambridge

From light-up sweatshirts to robots to a keyboard made of beer cans (yes, really), the list of pi-powered machines items grows every week.

But there is still room in the market for more, which is why Melbourn-based firm PA Consulting is challenging young people to come up with applications of their own.

The firm's third annual programming challenge is open to primary and secondary school  children, while there are also categories for sixth form colleges and university students.

Teams use a Raspberry Pi must invent something that will help people lead healthier lives.

"Within the company we noticed that though children are now really good at using technology, there weren't enough young people involved in coding and building things using IT," said Anita Chandraker, head of IT delivery at PA Consulting Group.

"The competition  gives entrants the opportunity to discover what they can achieve through coding in a fun and informal way. Our aim is to help support the teaching and learning of computing, science, design and technology and also inspire the UK's next generation of tech experts."

Ideas could range from wearable technologies that ensure patients take their medication on time, to a health and fitness programme tailored to an individual's needs, or a system that could streamline a hospital's  processes to make it more efficient.

The best entries in each category will be chosen to qualify for a finals day held at the Science Museum in London. Here a panel of judges will be tasked with choosing the winners.

"The quality of inventions from young people over the past two years has impressed all those involved," said Anita.

"One team's idea is now being commercialised and some teachers have used the competition to revitalise the teaching of computing and technology.

"With the introduction of the new school curriculum for computing in this academic year, it will be more important than ever for young people to understand the basics of programming and the power of technology to transform lives."

The closing date for entries is February 16.

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