London: PA Consulting Group has launched its third annual programming challenge for pupils and students in the UK. This year, PA is tasking entrants to 'revolutionise people's health and wellbeing', using a Raspberry Pi computer and some additional hardware and software.
The teams must invent something that will help people lead healthier lives. Ideas could range from wearable technologies that ensure patients take their medication on time, to a health and fitness programme tailored to an individual's needs, or a system that could streamline a hospital's processes to make it more efficient.
The competition is open to the following categories:
- PA's primary school award: academic years 4-6
- PA's secondary school award: academic years 7-11
- PA's sixth form & college award: academic years 12-13
- PA's young entrepreneur award: open to all university undergraduates.
The winning team in each category will receive £1,000 prize money.
Anita Chandraker, head of IT delivery at PA Consulting Group says, "The competition gives entrants the opportunity to discover what they can achieve through coding in a fun and informal way. Our aim is to help support the teaching and learning of computing, science, design and technology and also inspire the UK's next generation of tech experts.
"The quality of inventions from young people over the past two years has impressed all those involved; one team's idea is now being commercialised and some teachers have used the competition to revitalise the teaching of computing and technology. With the introduction of the new school curriculum for computing in this academic year, it will be more important than ever for young people to understand the basics of programming and the power of technology to transform lives."
Some of the winning innovations from previous years include a robot to help with the household recycling, an automatic pill dispenser, a forest fire detector and a device to help less-mobile people answer their front door — invented by a group of primary school children.
PA first launched the competition in 2012 in response to a fall in programming skills and as a mechanism to tackle the growing talent gap in programming and coding. The Raspberry Pi was selected as it is a low-cost computer, launched with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools and stimulating interest in the IT industry.
For more information or to view a video of last year's competition go here.