Two pupils from Loughborough High School have been named winners at a national science and engineering competition, after designing a phone case and app capable of providing some protection to people in dangerous situations.
Year 11 students Meeram Ibrahim and Grace Johnston, who worked together as Team SafeCase, won The Innovation Award by Network Rail at the Big Bang Competition 2018, held at Birmingham’s NEC.
During the event, the teenagers were recognised for their innovative thinking and collaboration in developing the device, which has an in-built pepper spray and can send SOS messages to call for help in an emergency.
This is the latest in a string of accolades for Meeram and Grace, who also received the Digital Skills Award for SafeCase at Buckingham Palace, as part of the Teentech Awards last autumn.
A total of five teams from Loughborough High School and Loughborough Grammar School, part of the Loughborough Endowed Schools family of schools, reached the final of the Big Bang Competition, with two of them attracting the attention of organisations keen to take their ideas further.
Daljit Kaur, Head of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Innovation at Loughborough Grammar School, said: “The success of the teams at this year’s Big Bang Fair is testament to the collaborative work across the Loughborough Endowed Schools Foundation as well as the efforts of the pupils, who have sacrificed hours of their own time over lunchtimes and evenings to complete their projects. They continue to amaze me with their ideas, energy and passion.”
This is the second consecutive year that pupils from Loughborough Endowed Schools have been recognised for their STEM innovations at the Big Bang Competition.
Last year, Loughborough Grammar School students David Bernstein and Sankha Kahagala-Gamage took the UK Young Engineer of the Year title for inventing a wearable vest called E1, which alerts epilepsy sufferers about a possible attack minutes before it hits. As well as being invited back to present this year’s award, they also gave a speech in front of more than 400 dignitaries at the evening dinner.
Since their win, David and Sankha have competed in STEM competitions in China and Estonia – and they are now set to begin discussions with Epilepsy UK on how to prepare their innovation for clinical trials. They will also assist the judges on future Big Bang competitions, and are hoping to become STEM ambassadors on outreach programmes for the RAF and BAE Systems.
Praising David and Sankha for their hard work, Daljit added: “It was great to see David and Sankha return to the Big Bang Fair following their victory in 2017. They are becoming true ambassadors of STEM for our school, and young people more generally.”