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PA’s Raspberry Pi schools competition tackles transport

This article was first published on Electronics Weekly

Travel and transport were the themes for PA Consulting’s 2019 Raspberry Pi programming competition, challenging UK school kids to innovate using the Raspberry Pi.

It’s an annual competition that highlights the impressive work that younger students can do around their STEM education.

For example, among the projects I saw, there were smart gloves to provide route information to cyclists, an alert for child car seats and a system to help avoid the congestion of dropping kids off by school gates.

The winners of the 2019 competition are:

Primary school award, academic years 4-6: St Mary’s School, Horsham

The ‘Park and Stride’ invention uses technology to encourage children and parents to walk to school instead of parking outside the school gates, which can cause accidents and increase pollution. The team used their ingenuity to create a product that enables children to “scan in” – on a portable Raspberry Pi device using RFID keyring tags – at drop off points away from the school. They then walk to school and scan in again when safely onsite.

Secondary school award, academic years 7-9: Lady Eleanor Holles School, London

The Brainy Baby Belt is a product that makes children’s car seats safer by issuing an alert when they become unclipped, helping keep children safer. The product contains a sensor that will issue an alert when the child’s car seat has become unclipped. The Brainy Baby Belt is night themed and plays music and has lights on it to help keep the child entertained on their journey.

Secondary school award, academic years 10-11: Westminster School, London

The product allows cyclists to navigate safely around busy urban areas by displaying route directions and other data on a pair of cycling gloves that light up to show arrows or other actions. The bright light coming from the gloves has the added benefit of making the cyclist more visible and safer in the dark, especially when they signal a turn. The gloves also provide a real-time display of the pollution the cyclist is experiencing, using data from the cloud.

Sixth form and college award, academic years 12-13: Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Carmarthenshire

The team invented a system to reduce the waiting time for drivers at traffic lights, especially temporary ones at roadworks. It does this by calculating the most efficient traffic light cycle timings, depending on factors such as distances, speed limits and car types. The Raspberry Pi is used to control the traffic lights and has a web interface that allows an engineer to change the variables for that traffic system.


“It’s so inspiring to see children as young has eight from different corners of the country getting involved in coding with such passion and ingenuity,” said Anita Chandraker of PA Consulting’s global innovation services.

“The awards day was a fantastic opportunity for the students to present their ideas to industry leaders, and for the judges and guests to witness the children’s ingenuity on full display.

“We believe young minds hold potentially life-changing ideas; one school who competed in a previous PA Raspberry Pi competition went on to turn its idea for a wearable air quality monitor into thousands of sales after teaming up with a manufacturer.

PA's Raspberry Pi Competition 2018

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