Netherwood ALC in Barnsley was announced as the winner of the Premier Farnell Wearable Technology Challenge, facilitated by the Ahead Partnership and supported by Leeds Beckett University, when ten schools from across Yorkshire came head-to-head during a Science Fair at Leeds Beckett University’s Headingley Campus.
With the goal of creating a working prototype of a Wearable Technology, Year 7-9 students with an interest in STEM subjects, came together to present their final ideas following the competition launch in December.
With three award categories; the Judges’ Choice, recognising the best overall product; People’s Choice, taking into account the prototype that was most liked by those attending the Science Fair and finally the Best of the Rest, acknowledging the efforts of the team that had developed a product that was viable and well thought through, the competition was incredibly close.
Taking the judges choice and winning 5 Pebble Smart watches and 5 Codebugs was Netherwood ALC. The school impressed the judges with their idea to transfer the concept of a dance mat on to a t-shirt to encourage children aged between 4-8 years old to become more active. Creating a garment that would allow you to turn off a light when touched also meant that the t-shirts could be used during games of tag.
The People’s Choice Award went to Roundhay School in Leeds who won 5 sets of Raspberry Pi 2 Astro Kits. The team developed two concepts and brought them together. First they suggested gloves that would include conductor pads that could be used for walking bus schemes at primary schools. The idea would be that if one child was to let go of the line the circuit would break and a teacher would be alerted by a flashing light.
The second idea was a dog coat that would have a geographical perimeter set by GPS. Not only could a pet owner see their dog due to the bright lights on its jacket but they would also be made aware if the animal was to stray away from a designated area.
Finally, taking home a specially coded trophy, the Best of the Rest went to Swallow Hill Community College in Leeds who suggested a cycling jacket that would trigger an indicator style light that would flash left or right as an arm was raised.
Nick Cope, Associate Dean for Enterprise and Employability at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Projects such as this open young people’s eyes to the opportunities available to them in the important areas of innovative design, technology and engineering for their future studies and careers.”
The judging panel for the Challenge included Robin Brinkworth, Senior Lecturer in Product Design and Joy Tasker, Senior Lecturer in Engineering from Leeds Beckett University and Peter Birks, Sales & Marketing President Europe from Premier Farnell.
Additional ideas from other schools included a panic band to send a text or message to a designated person when pushed, a fireman’s glove that would detect CO2 and temperature to keep the servicemen safe and also a coat that would heat up in the pockets and back when buttons were pressed.
For further details about the Ahead Partnership and the Make the Grade programme please visit: https://www.aheadpartnership.org.uk/make-the-grade/home/
The schools involved in the Challenge include:
Swallow Hill Community College
Carleton Community School
John Smeaton Academy
Leeds West Academy
Abbey Grange Academy