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9 May, 2022 - 16:10 By Tony Quested

Planet-saving coding innovation honoured by Raspberry Pi and PA Consulting

Children as young as eight from UK schools and colleges competed in the final of PA Consulting’s 10th annual Raspberry Pi coding competition at London’s Science Museum. 

PA Consulting, which has a major presence in the local cluster, invited teams to use a Cambridge-born Raspberry Pi computer to invent products to help save the planet.

The competition promotes STEM education by challenging primary, secondary and college students to invent products and processes that could benefit our health, our society and our world using their technology and coding skills. 

As the UN shares its latest outlook on climate change, the need to act quickly on sustainability has never been more apparent.

Frazer Bennett, Chief Innovation Officer at PA Consulting and sponsor for the competition says: “What a treat to be inspired by our 14 finalist teams at this year’s awards. It wasn’t just the technical capabilities that inspired but the passion, energy and sense of purpose around our theme of innovating to help save the planet.

“Encouraging the next generation of innovators is so important to us and our competition aims to help children develop their interest in the impact that technologies can have. The ingenuity of young people is remarkable, and it’s this ingenuity that will help shape our future.

“In 15 years from now it’s going to be the teams that entered this competition that will be the ones solving the big challenges the world faces. So, it’s clear that we need to give them a place to thrive, and I’m proud that our competition is contributing to that.”

Finalists from each category presented their inventions in front of a panel of expert judges and the winning team in each category received £1,000 prize money.
Primary school award, academic years 4-6    
King Edward’s Junior School, Bath, created recycling stations which help to inform, educate and raise awareness about environmental issues. The stations are set up around different parts of the school and reward students for recycling by giving them house points. A computer-based programme with a highly creative user interface guides the students on appropriate recycling methods.
Secondary school award, academic years 7-9
Belhaven Hill School, Dunbar, invented an automatic bin opener that sorts rubbish using AI. Users hold the rubbish up to the camera and the AI will work out which bin to put it in – paper recycling, wood recycling and general waste – and open the correct one.
Secondary school award, academic years 10-11    
Richard Hale School, Hertford, developed a project to reduce the volume of greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere every year by the transportation of food from the producer to the consumer. The team highlighted that a staggering 3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by this issue. The team’s app uses the power of the Raspberry Pi and a barcode scanner to recommend a locally sourced product rather than one from further afield.
Sixth form and college award, academic years 12-13
King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford, designed a robot that travels across farmland to assess multiple environmental factors that help the user make smart environmental choices when irrigating. These environmental factors include temperature, humidity, soil moisture and pressure. The aim is to allow farmers to assess and monitor via an app exactly how much water they need to prevent unnecessary waste.
People’s choice award
The winning entry, voted for by all of those that attended the awards day both in person and virtually, was a robot to help farmers with their irrigation, invented by King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford.

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