A robot door opener, an interactive recipe book and an automatic school register were just some of the imaginative ideas submitted in a great gadget competition.
The mini i-Teams What would you use that for? Contest was run at the Institute for Manufacturing as part of the Cambridge Science Festival.
Entrants were asked to submit ideas for alternative uses for cool gizmos developed by a number of hi-tech Cambridge companies.
Putting their tech to the test were Light Blue Optics – makers of an interactive projector which turns any surface into a virtual touchscreen; Sureflap an automatic catflap which uses cat microchip ID tags; Audio Analytics makers of sound detection software, Cambridge Temperature Concepts temperature monitor logger.
Also taking part in the event were ARM who showcased their mbed processor and robots and a display by computer researchers at the University of Cambridge who demonstrated their ‘emotional robots’.
Competition organiser Amy Mokady explained: “We wanted to give youngsters a flavour of what i-Teams do, which is take new science and technology and try to help commercialise it.
“So we thought let’s get some great Cambridge companies and see if the kids can come up with some novel ways of using their devices. We had some brilliant entries.
“Suggestions for the interactive projector included using it as a piano you could fit in your pocket, the technology behind the catflap could have been used to keep little brothers and sisters out of bedrooms!
“The ideas were wonderfully creative and all the companies really enhjoyed reading through them”
Amy said it was a tough choice but the winning entries were as follows:
– Hannah Whitehouse, 13. She suggested the projector could be used for a recipe book, users would be able to see their favourite recipes without having to wash your hands or get your computer messy
– William Giddings, 10, said the catflap technology could be used to protect lunch boxes, the tag would prevent people stealing your sandwiches!
– Lucas Burr, 7, also had a suggestion for the catflap. He wanted to create a super reliable automatic school register, a tag would be inserted in a child’s shoe, automatically ticking them off when they entered the classroom.
– Jim Carrington, in the 15 and over category won for his suggestion that the sound detection software could be used as a bin lorry sound detector, waking you up to make sure you have put the bin out.
The winners will all receive a science-themed toy for their efforts and a special certificate of their award-winning idea.
Some of the other entries in the competition will be available at the IfM website
Notes for Editors
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Institute for Manufacturing
Or University of Cambridge
Office of Communications
The Institute for Manufacturing (www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk)
The University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing (IfM), is a division of the Department of Engineering. The IfM brings together expertise in management, economics and technology to address the full spectrum of industrial issues. Its activities integrate research and education with practical application in companies, providing a unique environment for the creation of new ideas and approaches to modern industrial practice. The IfM works closely with industry, at a regional, national and international level, providing strategic, technical and operational expertise to help companies to grow and to become more competitive.
Running since 2006, i-Teams allows entrepreneurial post-graduate students to work with real inventions to determine the best route for their commercialization.
Each i-Team consists of up to 7 students from different disciplines and experience, who work with a nominated research project selected from several University departments. The i-Team assesses the commercial prospects for the technology, by discussing the technology with real target customers in relevant industries.
The teams are guided by the researchers, the i-Teams Programme Director (Amy Mokady), and mentors from the local business community. Together the teams identify suitable product markets, and define directions for future technology development, helping to drive the use of lab research in real-world applications.
i-Teams sponsors include the Hauser Forum IdeaSpace (which is funded by the East of England Development Agency), the EPSRC, the CIKC (Cambridge Integrated Knowledge Centre), the Isaac Newton Trust, Taylor Vinters, Marks & Clerk, Cambridge Enterprise and CUTEC.