i-Teams competition at the Science Festival – Encouraging young innovators!


March 26th 2015

At last week’s Science Festival, tomorrow’s innovators had the opportunity to try out lab techniques with GSK, sound recognition with Audio Analytic, the Sureflap microchip catflap and the Light Blue Optics interactive projector.

The i-Teams competition runs each year at the Institute for Manufacturing (www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk) and challenges the children to think of new ways to use the innovations.

Amy Weatherup, competition organiser, said: “We had an excellent breadth of demonstrations this year. From sound detection to manufacturing precise tablets from PlayDoh, the children were shown how science can make the magical possible. One of our younger attendees now wants a microchip catflap for her toy cat!”

The GSK lab zone included instructions on making a 6mm thick 3-layered tablet from PlayDoh, and challenged the attendees to do it precisely, which is much harder than it sounds. They also had the opportunity to dress up in real white lab coats, and test (pretend) urine for doping, and then had to remove their purple gloves without getting their hands dirty.

Sound experts from Audio Analytic demonstrated sound waves and resonance, and the children were able to see if the computer could distinguish a cow from a chicken by sound alone. They also constructed their own “chicken cups” to take home. (If you want to build your own then make a hole in the base of a plastic cup, tie on a piece of string and pull sharply down on the string inside the cup. It will sound like a chicken!)

The winners were:

Miriam Cooke, age 5 from Haslingfield Primary School, wanted to use the cat flap technology to keep her brothers out of her bedroom
Ben Harriss, age 6 from Histon and Impington Infant School, who had the idea of detecting ducks saying “quack”
Eric Taylor, age 10 from the Perse Prep School, who wanted a microchip bicycle lock
Kathy Gladman, age 10 from Bewick Bridge Primary School, who designed a laser key ring
Angus Jackson of Goose Architects, who would like to use microchip sensors on cars for access to car parks and garages


And the runners-up were:
Charlotte Lock, age 9 from Fordham Primary School, who designed a microchip necklace to open her front door
Harrison Walne, age 13 from Hockerill Anglo European College, who thought that the sound detection could be used to detect birds in Africa and help prevent them ruining the crops

The winners will receive prizes from the Science Museum shop. Winners and runners-up will receive a special certificate of their award-winning idea. We thank all the companies who kindly provided demonstrations for the event.