School children from across the UK are using the Internet of Things to solve healthcare issues as they take part in the Longitude Explorer Prize, run by innovation foundation Nesta and supported by technology company, IBM.
Of the teams selected as finalists, 60% have chosen to focus on combatting mental health issues.
The Longitude Explorer challenge prize aims to inspire innovation by challenging school students to use technology to tackle a contemporary challenge. The 2017 Longitude Explorer Prize sees young people aspiring to solve healthcare issues with the Internet of Things – the interconnection of everyday objects using the internet – enabling them to send and receive data.
The prize is in the spirit of the 18th century Longitude Prize, which set the task of determining a ship’s exact location at sea.
The 10 teams of 11-16 year olds selected as finalists will visit the IBM offices in London on Friday, 28th April to begin work on turning their ideas into reality. They will work on their ideas with technical and business mentors from IBM’s specialist staff. Teams will also be trained in the use of cutting edge ‘cognitive’ computing tools, intelligent platforms that are able to think, understand and learn. Teams will present their idea and prototypes to a panel of judges on July 13th. The winner will then be selected and announced later that day.
School children are increasingly using technology on a daily basis, we want them to realise that they don’t just have to be consumers, they can take an active role in imagining how technology can be used to tackle societal problems – Constance Agyeman, prize leader in Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre
Constance Agyeman, who leads the prize in Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre says, “The challenge prize structure aims to inspire the next generation of inventors. It also gives school students the opportunity to work together creatively to try and solve the issues that really matter to them. Interestingly, this year half of our finalists chose to focus on mental health. School children are increasingly using technology on a daily basis, we want them to realise that they don’t just have to be consumers, they can take an active role in imagining how technology can be used to tackle societal problems.”
Mark Wakefield, IBM UK’s corporate citizenship manager, commented, “We are partnering with Nesta on the Longitude Explorer challenge prize because it pushes participants to address the need for both technical knowledge and skills in emerging technologies such as cognitive and cloud, as well as helping them improve their employability skills. It is the combination of both of these that employers such as IBM really value. We congratulate all of the 10 teams of finalists and are very excited to be helping them further develop their ideas – there is some true innovation and creativity there.”
Bright Day, the team from Ursuline Academy, Ilford, are working on Breathe Watch as their idea, a wristband that monitors the symptoms of a panic attack and provides calming down techniques via a mobile phone or tablet. The app will also monitor where you have panic attacks to establish patterns. A person of the wearer’s choice can also be alerted about the panic attack.
A representative from the team said, “Many people do not understand what having a panic attack is like for the person and therefore find it difficult to notice and help. A friend of ours explained how she would be at the peak of her panic attack (generally 10 minutes into it) before anyone noticed. In a school a teacher has on average 30 pupils to handle and may not be able to detect that something is wrong with one of them.Our idea helps by notifying others when someone needs help.
‘Our team chose to look at mental health issues because this topic is becoming more and more important due to the rise of mental health in young people. Mental health is quite often brushed over and with school becoming more stressful for students, we feel our product would be in high demand and would help thousands of people.”
Ursuline Academy, Ilford
Team: Bright Day
Their idea: Breath Watch – a wristband that monitors the symptoms of a panic attack and provides calming down techniques via a mobile phone or tablet.
Warwick School, Warwick
Team: We Fidget
Their idea: Stress Cube – a stress ball with sensors allowing people to establish patterns of when and where they tend to feel more stressed.
Southlands School, Lymington
Their idea: ASDE motion Badge for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – The badge changes colour depending on the emotions of its wearer, making communicating emotions easier, especially for those with autism.
Churston Ferrers Grammar School, Devon
Team: Team Spaghetti
Their idea: The Home Sensor – Sensors placed around the homes of older people to track their daily routine. If someone is acting out of the ordinary, a chosen person can be informed. The product aims to support people with dementia.
Harris Academy Bermondsey, London
Their idea: Honest – a water bottle that monitors water intake and will remind you if you need to drink more.
Littleover Community School, Derby
Their idea: Shelly’s Planner – an app for young people and their families with recipes and exercises that can be done during cooking.
Ursuline Academy, Ilford
Their idea: SeeO2 – a device connected to your phone that measures air quality. If it’s poor, it will suggest an alternative healthier/cleaner route for you. It also encourages physical activity.
Warwick School, Warwick
Their idea: Lemontime – an app which gives users rewards in mobile games for doing fitness and health based activities.
Bodmin College, Cornwall
Their idea: Panic Attack Wrist Band – a band or a t-shirt that measures your body temperature and heart rate to detect panic attacks. It will then connect to devices at home to calm the wearer down eg. the stereo will begin playing soothing music.
Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough
Their idea: Panic+ – a button carried by students with a mental disorder. When clicked it sends a direct signal to a teacher’s wristband, telling him/her that you have to get out of the lesson or have a problem, giving them a notice discreetly and allowing them to help you.