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PA OPINION

PA’s Raspberry Pi competition: encouraging ingenuity in school-aged children

We believe young minds hold potentially life-changing ideas. And we also believe that when technology and humans work together, incredible things are possible. That’s why we’re so passionate about our Raspberry Pi Competition, which we’ve run for seven years now in the UK and this year have expanded to the Netherlands too. It gives young people the challenge of creating an innovation using the credit card-sized Raspberry Pi microcomputer, and applying their coding ability and other core science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

We’ve challenged entrants for the 2019 competition in the UK to produce innovations that will transform travel and transport. We look for great ideas and evidence of teamwork. Naturally, the teams must also show how their coding works and how it enables their idea. And they need to present the idea clearly enough for someone else to be able to build it. As well as that, teams have a budget of just £150, so they rely almost completely on their own ingenuity and know-how.

Some of the ideas that have made it through to the 2019 final include:

  • a way of improving travel for the visually impaired through a voice-activated bus stop audio message system
  • a way to cycle safely through urban areas with flashing gloves as your guide
  • an interactive travel companion for young children, designed for those with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • a facial recognition system that makes bus travel easier, helps the environment and prevents fraud.

Each year we invite our shortlisted teams to our exclusive awards event attended by some of the UK’s most inventive leaders from the private and public sectors.

This year the awards day takes place on 30 April at Code Node, the UK’s largest venue dedicated to technology events. Students can expect a day of STEM activities, speed networking sessions with business leaders, plus the chance to exhibit and explain their invention. Our senior judging panel will announce the winners from each category at an awards ceremony.

This years’ competition finalists are:

  • St Mary’s School, Horsham
  • Croydon High School
  • Egglescliffe C of E Primary School, County Durham
  • Hack Horsham, Sussex
  • Lady Eleanor Holles School, London
  • Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham college, London
  • Westminster School, London
  • Ferndown Upper School, Dorset
  • The Liverpool Blue Coat School, Lancashire
  • Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Carmarthenshire
  • King Edward VI Grammar School, Essex
  • Stanmore College, Middlesex

The outcomes reach beyond the competition walls. Our judges look for commercial potential, and one school has recently gone on to turn its idea for a wearable air quality monitor into thousands of sales after teaming up with a manufacturer.

We can’t wait to welcome the finalist teams to the awards day in April – and to witness their ingenuity on full display.

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