An e-water tap for Africa, a flat-pack disaster home, sunglasses to monitor epilepsy and a guitar with never-ending strings were just some of the winning innovations pitched by talented teenagers on how to use technology to make life ‘better, simpler or easier’ at this year’s TeenTech Awards.
Patron of TeenTech, HRH The Duke of York, visited the Royal Society to meet the talented young entrepreneurs and hear more about their cutting-edge ideas into how to make the world better.
Over 100 young innovators, who saw off fierce competition from hundreds of teams from schools across the UK, travelled to London to present their pioneering ideas to a team of judges made up of celebrity science presenters, journalists and eminent academics including TeenTech co-founder and BBC Tomorrow’s World presenter Maggie Philbin, TV’s Dr Christian Jessen, Top Gear’s James May, BBC Click’s Kate Russell, BBC Bang Goes The Theory’s Dallas Campbell, actress Katy Brand, and comedian Jon Culshaw.
ABOVE: Entrants in the Education category tell comedian Jon Culshaw about their inventive ideas for the future
The students, aged between 11-16 years old were challenged to work in groups of up to three and use technology to solve real-world problems in 19 categories inspired by industries important to the future, including infrastructure, environment, transport, healthcare and wearables.
2015 winners included the likes of:
- Money Manager – an app that compares spending habits and helps people budget wisely
- S.T.EYE – A condom with an inbuilt indicator that changes colour when it comes into contact with common STIs
- Aidship – an airship to transport aid to areas of natural disasters
- SmartChair – a wheelchair that drives automatically through sensors on the floor
Other shortlisted ideas ranged from hair accessories that can match the colour of any garment you wear using Wi-Fi, a proposition to bring insects into Britain’s food-chain, shoes designed to harness energy generated by walking to charge devices on-the-go, a ‘floodless future’ defence system for rail links, to an app that calculates the monetary value of household chores.
Three schoolchildren, Jack, Connor and Lawrence from Park House School in Newbury, clinched the crown in the Infrastructure category sponsored by Network Rail for their design of the E-Water Tap. The team has a patent pending and has already secured £50,000 investment from leading charity Africa Water Enterprises, and will see 100 taps installed in a number of African villages by January 2016.
ABOVE: The ‘SECURUS’ lets people keep safe from any hazards, connects to your mobile and calls emergency services if the user is panicked
Speaking of the new venture, Alison Wedgwood, Chief Executive for Africa Water Enterprises, said: “AWE is completely overwhelmed by this idea. We think it could not only revolutionise rural water supplies in Africa, but drastically help what the Department for International Development is calling the ‘hidden crisis’. While many charities install new taps, there is no way to currently monitor and fix the many broken ones – so this is a hugely ground-breaking way to make sure the taps stay usable and that a regular water supply is accessible by those who need it most.”
TeenTech’s founder and CEO, Maggie Philbin said: “We know there’s a huge amount of young talent all over the UK but teenagers are not always clear about the skills they need to succeed, and events like today’s has proved that our exam system needs to embrace this creative talent and encourage even more life-changing inventions of tomorrow.
“By taking their ideas out of the classroom and putting them face-to-face with industry professionals, we’ve been able to change the way young people think about these subjects and helps to open their eyes to the real potential of their ideas.”
ABOVE: Maggie Philbin, CEO of TeenTech
The winners of each category were awarded thousands of pounds in cash prizes and have been invited by The Duke of York, to a reception at Buckingham Palace in the Autumn.
More information can be found at the TeenTech website: www.teentech.com