In the media

PA Consulting celebrates annual Raspberry Pi school coding competition

By Alun Williams

Electronics Weekly

11 May 2022

This article was first published in Electronics Weekly

Now in its tenth year, “Saving the planet” via sustainability was the challenge, to be addressed by school children in different age groups.

And the entries covered a range of projects: directional solar panels; an automatic bin opener that sorts rubbish using AI; informative recycling stations; a means to recommend a locally sourced products; and finally, the monitoring of temperature, humidity, soil moisture and pressure to help farmers make irrigation decisions.

The winners, from the event held at the Science Museum in London, were as follows:

Primary school award, academic years 4-6

King Edward’s Junior School, Bath, created recycling stations which help to inform, educate and raise awareness about environmental issues. The stations are set up around different parts of the school and reward students for recycling by giving them house points. A computer-based programme with a creative user interface guides the students on appropriate recycling methods.

Secondary school award, academic years 7-9

Belhaven Hill School, Dunbar, invented an automatic bin opener that sorts rubbish using AI. Users hold the rubbish up to the camera and the AI will work out which bin to put it in – paper recycling, wood recycling and general waste – and open the correct one.

Secondary school award, academic years 10-11

Richard Hale School, Hertford, developed a project to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere every year by the transportation of food from the producer to the consumer. The team highlighted that 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by this issue. The team’s app uses the Raspberry Pi and a barcode scanner to recommend a locally sourced product rather than one from further afield.

Sixth form and college award, academic years 12-13

King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, designed a robot that travels across farmland to assess multiple environmental factors that help the user make smart environmental choices when irrigating. These environmental factors include temperature, humidity, soil moisture and pressure. The aim is to allow farmers to assess and monitor via an app exactly how much water they need to prevent unnecessary waste.

People’s choice award

The winning entry, voted for by all of those that attended the awards day both in person and virtually, was a robot to help farmers with their irrigation, invented by King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford.

“Encouraging the next generation of innovators is so important to us, and our competition aims to help children develop their interest in the impact that technologies can have,” said Chief Innovation Officer at PA Consulting, Frazer Bennett.

“The ingenuity of young people is remarkable, and it’s this ingenuity that will help shape our future. In 15 years from now it’s going to be the teams that entered this competition that will be the ones solving the big challenges the world faces. So, it’s clear that we need to give them a place to thrive, and I’m proud that our competition is contributing to that.”

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