Loughborough students showcase invention in China

Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein impressed judges in the Big Bang Competition with their invention that predicts epilepsy seizures

A team of young inventors from Loughborough have become the first to represent the UK at a prestigious science and technology competition in China.  

Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein, both pupils at Loughborough Grammar School, flew out to Hangzhou to go head-to-head with students from around the world at the China Adolescent Science and Technology Contest, held from 14th to 19th August.

The pair, both 16-years-old, secured their place after winning the Big Bang Competition in March, when they fought off competition from more than 21,000 students to take the UK Young Engineer of the Year 2017 title. 

Their invention, called E1, is a pioneering wearable vest designed to alert epilepsy sufferers that they are at risk of a fit.

After witnessing someone having a seizure, Sankha teamed up with David to develop the device, which monitors heart rate variability and body temperature to predict a fit up to eight minutes in advance. If one is detected, the vest sends a text message to the wearer’s phone, and that of a carer, to warn them that help is needed.

Daljit Kaur, Head of STEM Innovation at Loughborough Grammar School, praised the boys’ hard work, adding that their success was a testament to the school’s commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.

By drawing on their own real-world experience, they have created a device that could eventually prove life-saving for epilepsy sufferers – Daljit Kaur, Head of STEM Innovation at Loughborough Grammar School

“By drawing on their own real-world experience, they have created a device that could eventually prove life-saving for epilepsy sufferers,” she said.

“After impressing the judges at the Big Bang Competition, they now have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent the UK in China. I’ve seen first-hand how hard they have worked – and on behalf of the whole school, I want to wish them every success in the next stage of the competition.

“At Loughborough Grammar School, we are committed to developing STEM skills, not only as part of the curriculum but in students’ wider learning. Competitions like these offer them the chance to really get stuck into a project, testing both their creativity and scientific prowess.”

As well as competing in China, Sankha and David will also showcase their invention at the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, held in the Estonian capital Tallinn from 22nd to 27th September. They have also been invited to present to medical professionals at the Royal Society of Medicine.

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