PA Consulting has unveiled the winners of its annual Raspberry Pi coding competition for students.
Now in its ninth year, PA Consulting’s annual competition challenge primary, secondary and college students across the UK to build products using the Raspberry Pi – a low-cost microcomputer. The global consulting firm launched the competition back in 2012 with the aim of help tackling the growing talent gap in programming and coding.
“Encouraging the younger generation is so important to us, as is promoting STEM education, so our competition aims to help them develop their interest in innovation and technology,” explained Anita Chandraker, innovation expert at PA Consulting and sponsor for the competition.
This year, the even took place virtually due to the Covid-19 restrictions. Chandraker: “Where normally our finalists would present their inventions to the judges at a physical awards day, we judged virtually using the digital submissions from the teams. Despite this, our judges were blown away by the creativity, originality and inventiveness of the teams in developing their ingenious solutions.
Out of the shortlisted teams for the final, the jury picked winning teams across four categories:
Primary school award, academic years 4-6
St Mary’s School CE Primary School (Horsham) created an intelligent cane, Pi Sight, that communicates with other devices to inform blind, partially sighted or deaf-blind people of nearby hazards. To help manage social distancing, the team also developed Navi-Gate, a door entry management system that uses lights to show when people can and can’t enter a space and communicates with Pi Sight to convey the information.
Secondary school award, academic years 7-9
Priestnall School developed a gadget to monitor indoor air pollution and reduce the health risk. The device is integrated with Alexa that livestreams data on different types of pollution to easy-to-use dashboards.
Secondary school award, academic years 10-11
Colchester County High School for Girls developed an AI-powered automatic feeder designed to support endangered species by providing food to specific animals. The system also has an emergency override that lets it provide food to any animal in times of need, such as a famine or drought. Google’s Cloud Vision works with the team’s program to check if the motion is from the programmed species and, if it is, food is dispensed.
Sixth form and college award, academic years 12-13
Westminster School and Harris Westminster Sixth Form designed a new type of security – a dynamic footprint – that prevents possession theft. The idea comes from gait recognition – the method of identifying someone by the way they walk. The team’s system uses an accelerometer to assess people’s unique walking styles. It would then know whether the owner or an unknown party is holding a possession while walking.
Meanwhile, Steeple Bumpstead School took home the ‘People’s choice award’ (a new category this year) for its monitoring system for beehive temperature and humidity. The system sends the data to a website that the team created, and everything runs off imported code from the internet to make the system easier to set up on a commercial scale.
Alongside eternal fame, the winning teams all received £1,000 in prize money.