A system that helps reduce vehicle emissions by enabling drivers to locate empty car parking spaces, and a tool for making recycling easier, are among the finalists of the PA Consulting Group’s second Raspberry Pi programming competition.
The competition challenged schools and universities to use Raspberry Pi computers to ‘help the environment’ in innovative ways. The 12 best projects across four categories have been whittled down from over 50 initial entries. Each category winner will take away a prize of £1,000 at the awards ceremony taking place at the Science Museum on 2 April.
Notable submissions for 2014 include a recycling device combining a barcode reader that identifies the waste with software which chooses the right bin to automatically open and close; and a prototype for a product that aims to determine whether homeowners can make energy savings from installing solar roof panels.
“The skills and imagination of the students – with some as young as eight years old – have been phenomenal this year,” said Anita Chandraker, head of IT delivery at PA Consulting Group and one of the competition judges. “Overall there are a higher number of entries this year, and we’ve been delighted to hear that schools have used the competition as a way to align IT with their curriculum goals.”
Chandraker added: “There has also been a much bigger participation from higher education students this year – over 25 per cent of the entries came from universities.”
The full list of Raspberry Pi competition finalists is:
Category 1 – school years 4-6
Pi ‘n’ Mighty – St Mary's CE Primary School
Aimed at 4-7-year-old children with the aim of helping them learn about what can be recycled, this robot helps make household recycling procedures: scans items and tells users if they can be recycled, and also which type of recycling bin to use.
Mereside Primary School Pi – Mereside Primary School
The Emergency Pi Beacon is able to transmit a distress signal via a built-it antenna, flash SOS in Morse code using an LED board, and sound an SOS signal on a buzzer to maximise the chances of being located and rescued in an emergency: charges off a solar-powered cell.
NCP BINMEN – Norton Community Primary School
Recycling aid that combines a barcode reader that identifies waste: software then chooses the right bin to use, and also stepper motors that can automatically open and close the correct bin.
Category 2 – school years 7-11
PiPod – Richard Lander School
PiPod aims to be a cheap, efficient system capable of providing large quantities of clean water to communities, while also allowing them to grow fresh vegetables in climates that they would not naturally thrive in.
THS – Tanbridge House School
A plant-growing kit that will allow users to grow a chosen herb with minimal input, using various sensors in order to create the optimum environment for the chosen herb.
PI-oneers – Highgate School
The Sun-Pi is able to calculate how long a person can remain in the sun before getting burnt. It does this by combining the ultraviolet levels, their skin tone, and the SPF of the sun cream applied.
Plant Pi – Frome Community College
Allows users to monitor the environment around a plant over a Web server using a Raspberry Pi. System includes sensors to monitor temperature, humidity, light intensity, rain and soil moisture.
Category 3 – sixth form years 12-13
EcoPi Sign – Haileybury
EcoPi motivates people to dispose of their waste in a responsible way. Their creation has a display that shows environment-themed tweets taken directly from Twitter.
St Mary’s Cambridge Pi – St Mary’s Cambridge
Aims to determine whether or not individual homeowners can benefit from installing solar panels.
Wetter Forest – Newcastle College – Digital Skills Academy
Uses a Raspberry Pi to detect the likelihood of forest fires occurring.
Category 4 – Undergraduates
Humphrey and Nick – University of Exeter
Two students have developed a system that allows drivers to locate empty car park spaces in cities and towns.
Illuminous – University of Birmingham
A system that identifies the best place on your roof to place solar panels.
Team Lux – Newcastle University
A system that can reduce electricity consumption and automate the control of the illumination of a premises.