Winning Entries: Extraordinary Engineering ChallengeFollow article
The sharp-eyed amongst you may have noticed that DesignSpark recently ran an ‘Extraordinary Engineering Challenge’ with the RS Components Education and STEM team. And some of you encouraged your children, students, and other young people to enter. Thank you – we were truly inspired by the breadth and depth of entries received.
The Extraordinary Engineering Challenge tasked primary and secondary school children across the UK with designing an engineering solution to a current global challenge, such as pollution, poverty, and hunger, or climate change – and they really rose to the challenge!
Chloe Hall – The Crusher
In the 7-11 age category, the winner is 8-year-old Chloe Hall with her design ‘The Crusher’.
Chloe’s design idea is a solar-powered robot that scoops up and crushes plastic waste on the ocean’s surface. Sensors make sure that no ocean creatures are accidently captured, and a GPS tracker monitors when the robot is full, so it can be retrieved and emptied. Made from stainless steel, The Crusher’s parts are disguised as petals to give the impression of a giant flower floating in the water.
Laura Giddings, STEM Education Manager at RS, commented: “Chloe’s flower power design was very well thought out and creative, the ‘petals’ collapse into the middle to crush the waste and store it below, then retract to continue to gather waste, which is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.”
Chloe, our inspiring design engineer of the future, added: “I wanted to do something about the plastic in the oceans that is hurting all the animals living there. I chose a flower pattern because the sea creatures would swim round it and it would look nice in the ocean. I got the idea of crushing the plastic to make sure I could fit lots in and so I called it ‘The Crusher’. I am really happy that I won the competition!"
Ashwin Sridhar – RetroMate AI
In the 12-16 category, the winner is 15-year-old Ashwin Sridhar, with his amazing ‘RetroMate AI’ concept.
Ashwin designed his ‘RetroMate AI’ to support elderly people and their carers, to help improve their quality of life, provide safety and security, and enable them to communicate and stay connected. This sophisticated AI-powered device repli cates the look of the traditional ‘wireless’ radio, and includes music-based memory triggers, facial recognition to protect against unwanted visitors, and speech API that enables seamless communication and provides the ability to detect scam calls. The RetroMate AI also features hazard detection, object recognition, and autonomous pill dispensation, while algorithm audits and encryption ensure reliability and security. There is even an app to enable remote use!
James Howarth, Head of Education Strategy at RS, commented: “The strength of Ashwin’s entry is phenomenal. With extensive background research, an explanation of artificial intelligence applications, and solving a problem suffered worldwide using technology available day-to-day, Ashwin has shown that he is a true engineering entrepreneur of the future.”
Ashwin added: “I am excited to have won this competition and become one of the amazing ‘Extraordineers’. This competition helped grow my creative skills and design a product that could make a difference in people’s lives."
Rose Hazel – ‘Debby’
13-year-old Rose’s wearable project was called out as highly commended. ‘Debby’ is a wearable ‘talking’ AI device to help improve mental wellbeing. Designed to be worn discreetly around the wrist, and made from eco-friendly materials, Debby’s voice options can be set to the preferred gender, age, language, or even to a favourite celebrity! The style of the wristband can be customised and can link up to a smartphone or other intelligent virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa.
James Howarth, commented: “The entries in the 12-16 category were particularly strong. We were so impressed by Rose’s design, and its potential value to those living with mental health problems, that we didn’t want it to go unrewarded.”
Rose commented: “I heard about the competition through my school and felt it would be a fun and exciting way to share my ideas. I feel so shocked and happy in hearing that I have received a reward for highly commended. I didn’t think that I would get anywhere in this competition and I think that people should try different things and challenge themselves.”
Well done to all the entrants and winners. We were hugely impressed with the number and broad range of entries. Laura Giddings, STEM Education Manager at RS, added: “The quality and creativity of the many entries we received in this challenge is a sign that children are increasingly inspired by STEM activities, and by the positive impact that science and engineering can have on humanity and the world we live in. We encourage everyone who entered the competition to keep practising their STEM skills, and we thank everyone for their truly extraordinary designs.”
Excitingly, the two winners will each receive a tech bundle worth over £700, including a Piper STEM Computer Kit for Chloe in the 7-11 category and a pi-top computer kit for Ashwin in the 12-16 category, as well as a Sphero Bolt Robot, a MekaMon Berserker robot, and a Raspberry Pi starter kit. Our highly commended winner, Rose, will receive a Sphero Bolt Robot.