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    The Premier Farnell Technology Challenge came to a close today, with Prince Henry's Grammar School taking home the Judges Choice prize in a tightly-contested final showcase event on Tuesday 5th December.


    After weeks of exhaustive research and development, the final thirteen teams assembled at local events venue Aspire Leeds, where they had the opportunity to set up their stalls and present their final designs to a packed hall of visitors. The teams had been challenged to develop a working prototype for a piece of assistive technology marketed towards individuals living with physical or mental impairments, using a Raspberry Pi as the base.


    The event was organised by Premier Farnell in association with Leeds Beckett University and Ahead Partnership. Premier Farnell's Ralf Buehler (Chief Sales & Marketing Officer), Cliff Ortmeyer (Global Head of Technical and Commercial Marketing) and Martin Persaud (Head of HR Technology) were among the judges - alongside representatives from Leeds Beckett, Leeds City Council and Yorkshire-based smart technology specialists Tunstall Healthcare.


    Ralf also kicked off the event with an inspiring opening speech, while Cliff was on-hand to deliver both the Judges Choice Prize and the People's Choice Award to the winning teams. Members of Premier Farnell's HR team also ran a stall where the students could learn what it's like to work for a major electronics company, while our own e14phil spent the morning showcasing some creative learning projects involving electric paint.


    The standard was incredibly high across the board, with the students not only showcasing their design skills but also their ability to market themselves as they enthusiastically demonstrated their products for the judges and visitors. However, Prince Henry's Grammar School stood out for the creativity and attention to detail exhibited in their Automated Pill Dispenser (APD), which allows vulnerable individuals and their carers to schedule the release of their medications.


    Incorporating a range of programming languages including Python, HTML, CSS, Javascript and JSON, the APD has a dedicated website where users can create a schedule for any pill-based medicines they need to take, which is then written onto the devices memory. The device stores the pills and releases them only at the designated times. The user can push a button to confirm that the pill has been taken, with an option to send an alert to a designated contact if the pill is not taken within 30 minutes of being dispensed.


    Throughout the day, visitors were also encouraged to submit a ballot for the People's Choice Prize - which was awarded to Shipley College for their Dataface security device. In addition to designing an excellent product - which uses facial recognition functionality to help people living with dementia to identify visitors - Shipley stood out for their confident and enthusiastic presentation, featuring well-designed and thought out supplementary materials.


    The team from Prince Henry's walked away with a Fitbit and a Raspberry Pi 3 each, a special trophy and a gift for their supervising teacher. The Shipley College team also won a Raspberry Pi each, plus Argos vouchers and a 'People's Choice' trophy. Judging by the talent, enthusiasm and creativity on display at the event, we have high hopes that this event will just be the first step of a lifelong passion for electronics and innovation for all of the participating students. Next year's competitors have a lot to live up to...


    Premier Farnell Technology Challenge: Regional Final (5 December 2017)


    Stay tuned for more behind the scenes updates from the  Premier Farnell Technology Challenge, including exclusive video content and interviews with the winning teams.