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PA Raspberry Pi 2019 competition

PA’s Raspberry Pi competition 2019 took place on 30 April 2019. The event shows the incredible things school students are capable of when they focus their ingenuity on the challenges facing society. This year marked our seventh annual Raspberry Pi competition in the UK. We covered the event live from Code Node. Read our updates below that we shared throughout the competition.

Raspberry Pi 2019: the winners announced
Update: 6:40pm

The moment has come – we’re pleased to announce the winners of the Raspberry Pi competition 2019. We’ve seen some incredible innovations today and we know the judges have found it hard to pick just win winner from each category.

In the past winning entries have included an air quality and weather surveillance station; a robot that helps you with household recycling; and a system that allows drivers to locate empty car park spaces in cities.

So who were crowned the winners today? Anita Chandraker, PA’s Global Head of Innovation hosted the awards ceremony with Maggie Philbin, past presenter of the BBC’s long running popular science programme Tomorrow’s World.

Anita began by thanking the teams for making Raspberry Pi 2019 so inspiring. 

“Everyone here is aware that advances in new technologies are causing people to ask some pretty big questions like how do we ensure the vehicles that drive us, or the machines that fly us, keep us safe?"

She continued, "And, as the population ages, how can we keep people safe and healthy in their homes and able to continue living independently? These are tough questions to answer. But they’re also incredible opportunities. To make the most of these opportunities, the world needs brilliant people like you.”

Maggie Philbin joined Anita on stage to announce the winners for each category. She asked a member from the panel to share their feedback.

Category one: Primary School Award (academic years 4-6)

Nicola Debden from Highways England presented the award. She commented on the fantastic innovations from the teams. The finalists were:

St Mary’s School Horsham
Team: Pi Champions
This team created ‘Park and Stride’ to enable children to travel to and from school more safely.

Croydon High School
Team: Ivy Travel Pioneers
The team created a solution to improve travel for the visually impaired through a voice-activated bus stop audio message system.

Egglescliffe C of E Primary School
Team: Mars Pioneers – finding a travel solution for another planet
The team created an automated “companion” for astronauts to help them maintain a healthy body, mind and environment on their journey to Mars.

And the winner is: Pi Champions! Nicola said the invention impressed the judges because it addressed a real need by letting parents know that their child had arrived at school safely.

Category 2: Secondary (lower) School Award (academic years 7-9)

Peter Donlon, CTO at Moonpig presented the second award. The finalists were:

Hack Horsham, Sussex
Team: HH2
The team created TrainBot, a train safety management system that captures real-time data and prompts actions to ensure safe travel.

Lady Eleanor Holles School, London
Team: Brainy Baby Belt
This team developed a product that makes children’s care seats safer by issuing an alert when they become unclipped. It also provides entertainment to the child as well.

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham college, London
Team: AL
This team created an app that checks how healthy and eco-friendly you are and shows you ways to help the environment.

And the winner is: Brainy Baby Belt! Peter commented on the ambitious project the team undertook.

Category three: Secondary (upper) School Award: academic years 10-11

Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital took to the stage to present the third award. The finalists were:

Westminster School, London
Team: Robot Apocalypse
The team created Find My Way, a way to cycle safely through urban areas using flashing gloves as your guide.

Ferndown Upper School, Dorset
Team: fernDOWNLOAD
The team invented Travel Ted – an interactive travel companion for young children, designed for those with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

The Liverpool Blue Coat School, Lancashire
Team: PiRATED Content
The team developed a facial recognition system that makes bus travel easier, helps the environment and prevents fraud.

The winner is: Robot Apocalypse! Sarah said the team used an impressive piece of technology and used it to solve a real-world problem.

Category 4: PA’s Sixth Form and College Award (academic years 12-13)

Jenny McGeough, Operations Director at Weir Group presented the final award of the day.

Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Carmarthenshire
Team: Team Lightning
To ease congestion at traffic lights, this team created a system to reduce the waiting time for drivers at traffic lights.

King Edward VI Grammar School, Essex
Team: G.I. Pi (PioXIDE)
This team wanted to reduce air pollution from car emissions. They created a system to reduce air pollution by detecting levels of harmful gases.

Stanmore College, Middlesex
Team: DIS@Stanmore
The team createda fingerprint recognition system that would prevent fraudulent travel.

And the winner is: Team Lightning! Jenny described the team as “really close-knit” and said they created a complex system, showing the depth of their capability.

Congratulations to all of our winners today – each of them will get to join TFL’s young engineering experience which will enable them to further their STEM skills.

It’s been an amazing day here at Code Node. As one of the school children said, “It’s just so fun to come down to London and to have the experience, even if we don’t win.”

Thanks for joining us - we hoped you enjoyed the day. Until next year! 



The judges deliberate 
Update: 4:30pm

Our panel of judges have met our teams, heard about their inventions and are deliberating. 

This year’s theme is transport and travel and we asked the teams to use their ingenuity to transform the way we travel. We spend so much of our time travelling to school, work, holidays, the doctor, or just to go out and have fun. We asked students across the UK to help build a positive human future by using a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to invent something that will improve people’s experience when travelling.

Judges chatting to Raspberry Pi finalists

With so many innovative ideas in one room, the judges have tough criteria to match. They're looking for ideas that touch on the big issues in the world today. 

Raspberry Pi judge Ben Story, Strategic Marketing Director at Rolls-Royce said, "I was just gobsmacked by how smart some of the people were, how great some of the solutions were. There were teams there where I wanted to hire the people on the spot so they could come and work with us.

"At Rolls-Royce we’re trying to push what we call the ABC’s – agile, bold and collaborative. And I’ve seen all of that today. I’ve seen teams come together and exhibiting all of those characteristics. And when they come together and try to solve an interesting challenge, that’s when you see ingenuity.”

Shortly, the judges will be selecting winners from the following categories: 

  • PA’s Primary School Award: academic years 4-6
  • PA’s Secondary (lower) School Award: academic years 7-9
  • PA’s secondary (upper) School Award: academic years 10-11
  • PA’s Sixth Form and College Award: academic years 12-13

The awards ceremony is just about to kick off – stay tuned to find out who the winning teams are.


Team fernDOWNLOAD: bringing ingenuity to life
Update: 4pm

Walking around the exhibition today, it’s hard not to be blown away by the imagination that’s gone into dreaming up the inventions. And seeing them come from young people is all the more inspiring. This kind of thinking and pushing of boundaries is exactly what we stand for at PA. It’s building a positive human future in a technology-driven world. And today we get to see it in action.

Team fernDOWNLOAD, from Ferndown Upper School in Dorset, is a great example. In just six months they created Travel Ted, an interactive travel companion for young children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Raspberry Pi team fernDOWNLOAD

The team's invention is a teddy bear with an inbuilt speaker and five different coloured LED buttons. The bear has a battery, so it can be carried around easily with the Pi unit in the ‘backpack’ of the bear.

This simple design provides an interactive experience for young children that aims to reduce their anxiety before and during their travel via five different transport modes (car, bus, train, plane or boat). It provides fun, comfort and companionship through interactive games, music and story-telling.

Teammate Barney Hayfield said they created Travel Ted as they noticed there was a gap in the market. He said, “there’s nothing like this available for autistic children”.

Keen to progress their coding skills, the team went to their headteacher to ask if coding could be part of their curriculum.

“We’re the first year offered computer science at our school – so we’re the guinea pigs,” Barney said.

The team believe computer science is an important skill for everyone to have.

“It’s been brilliant. I’d recommend computer science to everyone – boy, girl, whoever you are. It’s the way the world is going”, teammate Harry Wilson said.  

We're inspired by the teams’ ambition to invent something that could bring comfort to young children with autism. 

To keep you updated, we’ll continue to post live coverage, including insights from our clients and photographs of the students in action. 


Team activities: challenging finalists to innovate
Update: 1:00pm

Today isn’t just about picking the winners – it’s a chance to challenge the teams to keep innovating. It also gives them an opportunity to come together and share their experiences. We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world and the Raspberry Pi competition embodies this very idea.

Each team take part in two hour-long activities today. We’ve designed them in collaboration with our Raspberry Pi competition partner organisations, the Economist Education Foundation (EEF) and Highways England.

Activity 1: Economist Education Foundation (EEF)  

This activity involved several short interactive activities focused on digging deeper using questioning and general problem-solving skills. The team at EEF explained that the skills you need to understand the news are the same skills needed to win the Raspberry Pi competition.

The teams were asked to focus on five skills – curiosity, scepticism, reasoning, storytelling and open mindedness – and think about why it’s important for someone who wants to innovate to have that skill.

Economist Education Foundation Raspberry Pi 2019 activity

Activity 2: Highways England – Autonomous vehicles  

In this activity, the children are challenged to build their own autonomous vehicles. The teams have 30 minutes to design, build and test their vehicle, giving them insight into how complex it is to programme an autonomous vehicle.

Highways England Raspberry Pi activity

The teams then raced their vehicles to see who reached the finish line first. It’s not all about speed though. As Garry Packer, Team Leader Calibration & Optimisation Services at Highways England, explained, “the faster the vehicle goes the less stable it is.”

Highways England Raspberry Pi activity in action

Activity 3: PA Consulting - Enigma activity

Enigma is an activity designed by Dan Black and Dan Hewitt from PA’s Global Innovation and Technology centre.

The teams had to think laterally as they solve clues and used an Enigma-style machine to crack codes and get the information needed to win WWII. The task required a high level of concentration. The teams took it seriously and were deep in thought for the full hour. 

PA's Engima challenge at Raspberry Pi 2019

Watch this space – we’ll continue to post live coverage throughout the day.


PA Raspberry PI: exhibition kick-off 
Update: 9:20am

Welcome to our Raspberry Pi competition 2019. We’re reporting live from Code Node, the UK’s largest venue dedicated to technology events and our home for the day. We’ll be here all day, sharing behind the scenes updates from the exhibition.

Since 2012, we’ve been organising this competition to encourage school students to invent, design and innovate using the Raspberry Pi microcomputer. Over 2,000 young people have worked on brilliant innovations and over 500 teams have taken part across the UK in the last seven years.

2019 is a big year for Raspberry Pi. We’ve had 180 entries from schools across the UK and, due to the high number of entries, we’ve been able to extend the number of categories. For the first time, we have 12 teams joining us as finalists.

This year, we’ve tasked the teams with the challenge of producing innovations that will transform travel and transport. And our finalists didn’t fail to impress.

So what’s in store for the finalists today?

To kick-off the day, the teams will take part in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and coding-focused activities organised by Highways England, the Economist Education Foundation and PA. This will be followed by speed networking between the finalists and the judging panel, which includes Rory Cellan-Jones, Technology Correspondent at the BBC; Professor Andy Doherty, CTO at Network Rail; and Sarah Wilkinson, CEO at NHS Digital.

This afternoon, our judging panel will visit the stands and review the inventions. We then open the doors to all guests who are encouraged to visit each stand. This year, guests will be given a smart badge which is RFID enabled, allowing them to check-in at each stand. Our finalists are competing for the highest number of visitors to their stands.

Check back throughout the day as we take you through the exhibition, meet the teams and find out who the Raspberry Pi 2019 winners are.

Contact the innovation team