Posted 2 February 2015
"Use your knowledge of how things work, such as the functionality you have got in your mobile phone or your car or in your gaming console, and imagine it as a robotic thing."
Following huge success in its inaugural year, the Young Innovator challenge has been set for a second time at Harper Adams University.
Young Innovator of the Year seeks to reward design talent among 11-19 year olds. All they have to do is submit a design for a robot that will address a problem in society to be in with a chance of winning up to £500 for themselves and £300 for their school or college.
And new in 2015, for teenagers who desire to go further and potentially build a robot, is the Technical Innovator challenge. With a top prize of £1,000, Technical Innovator is seeking proposals from 14- to 19-year-olds for a very specific type of robot – one which can locate a carrot in a field, fully autonomously.
Stage one of Technical Innovator is the design process. Only short-listed entrants will get to move to stage two and build their robot – which will then be tested during a challenge event at Harper Adams University.
Launching the 2015 challenge, awards organiser Lorraine Westwood, from Harper Adams, said: “Our aim is to inspire young people, to help them to realise what an exciting and creative subject engineering design is. We were amazed by the level of interest last year, we had more than 1,000 entries, with everything from baby-sitting robots to robots to help in drought-stricken countries, so we can’t wait to see this year’s entries””
Speaking when he presented the 2014 Young Innovator Awards, inventor and TV host Jason Bradbury said: “In terms of getting kids off the couch and into the classroom, thinking about stuff and doing things that are innovative and inventive, I could not think of a better idea!
“We are surrounded by consumer electronics, virtual reality, mind control devices, computer games - whatever it is that is inspiring the youth of today, this competition tuned into all of that… Use some of those ideas, use your knowledge of how things work, such as the functionality you have got in your mobile phone or your car or in your gaming console, and imagine it as a robotic thing – something that solves a problem and does something useful for us.
“Get it down on paper, or make a website or a video, and if it’s good enough you will end up here at a proper university, where they engineer real, physical things.”
Young Innovator of the Year problem-solving robot designs can be presented in a variety of ways including PDF, video or web page. Entries must be received by April 21st.
Technical Innovator requires entrants to submit a PDF document with their autonomous carrot-detecting robot design, shopping list, costs/financial details and supporting information, by March 20th. Those who make it through to stage two will be invited to compete at Harper Adams at the end of June.
For more information about each competition and how to enter, visit harper.ac.uk/innovator