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Student Raspberry Pi challenge focuses on transport solutions

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British schools and colleges are being challenged to find ways of using a Raspberry Pi computer to transform travel and transport in the latest round of a £1,000 contest that aims to tackle the skills gap in programming and coding.

Now in its seventh year, the annual PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition is open to teams of young people who have used their ingenuity to invent something for the credit card-sized device. The theme of travel and transport opens the door to entries that address anything from security issues to creating a better experience for people with physical mobility challenges or minimising the environmental impact of journeys.

The winning team in each of three categories will receive £1,000 prize money, with the added incentive that the first 100 teams to enter will receive a free Pi 3 starter kit. Previous winners have used their prize money to invest in new innovations and gone on to achieve commercial success. One team, which had developed an eye-tracking system to control a computer, aimed at helping people with mobility issues, were able to develop a Raspberry Pi-controlled muscle-monitoring system combined with a robotic exoskeleton for physical rehabilitation.

Other successful innovations have included an air-quality and weather-surveillance station; a drumming selfie machine; a robot that helps with household recycling; an automatic pill dispenser; a forest fire detector, and a system that allows drivers to locate empty car park spaces in cities and towns.

PA Consulting launched the competition in 2012 in response to a fall in programming skills to help tackle the growing talent gap in programming and coding. Anita Chandraker, who leads global innovation services at PA, said the company has always been astounded not only by entrants’ inventions, but also by their sheer commitment and enthusiasm.

“Schools all over the UK have been taking a significant interest in coding following its introduction on the school curriculum,” she said. “More than ever, it is important for young people to understand the basics of programming and the power technology can have in transforming the world.”

Categories are for primary school (Years 4-6), secondary schools (Years 7-11) and sixth forms/colleges (Years 12-13). Full details are available at: www.paconsulting.com/events/raspberry-pi-competition/

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