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News > School News > Riding high, JAGS girls enjoy success in TeenTech awards

Riding high, JAGS girls enjoy success in TeenTech awards

Ms Cook and the girls receive their award from The Duke of York at Buckingham Palace
Ms Cook and the girls receive their award from The Duke of York at Buckingham Palace

What started off as a lunch time DT (Design & Technology) club has become a once in a lifetime opportunity for two JAGS students.
Alice Hopkins and Iona Tompkins (Year 11) joined the lunchtime club due to Alice’s love of engineering; Iona was the loyal friend who said ‘yes’! Under the guidance of Arkwright Scholars and Sixth Formers, Katherine Gray and Melissa Adams, Alice and Iona entered the TeenTech Awards competition. The TeenTech Awards were established in 2012/3 and offer secondary school students the opportunity to develop their own ideas for making life better, simpler, safer or more fun. 

Alice has an avid interest in Arduino circuit boards whilst Iona enjoys creativity and art; this, along with an interest in cycling, led to their idea of a way that cyclists could safely indicate: IndiGo.

 With advice from experts at Greenwich University and Network Rail, the girls were able to complete a portfolio of technical diagrams and designs for the judges.  They also developed a prototype which Physics teacher, Mr Gravell road-tested for them.

“Our idea is a new technology for helping cyclists to indicate more clearly and safely.  The product uses LEDs and radio wave technology.  It works by sending radio waves from a button located on the bike’s handlebar to a ‘lilypad Arduino’, a washable, waterproof circuit which switches on the LEDs.  This avoids the unnecessary dangers and problems that come with raising your hand off the handlebars to indicate.”

Seeing off more than 100 other shortlisted schools, Alice and Iona impressed a panel of industry judges including BBC’s Tomorrow’s World reporter and co-founder of TeenTech, Maggie Philbin, to win the Consumer Innovation of the Year award, a new award for 2015, sponsored by Maplin.

The high street electronics retailer, Maplin are now working with the girls to produce their winning design which will then be sold in their stores.  A day at Maplin HQ started with the girls presenting to the CEO and 20 board members before going on to meet all the key departments used in production of an idea, including retail, marketing and online.  The girls were treated like professional designers and gained so much insight and knowledge from the experience:

“To see it come to life is very exciting, we have a great connection with Maplin.”

As winners they were invited by TeenTech’s patron, HRH The Duke of York, to a reception at Buckingham Palace.  It wasn’t quite tea with the Queen, but with a Prince!  Alice and Iona made sure that they had practised their curtsies….at least once!

So, what next? 
Alice and Iona will continue to meet with Maplin and be very much involved in the final design and manufacturing of IndiGo, with a product hopefully being launched in the spring next year.  Alice is hoping to win an Arkwright scholarship, a national scholarship fund that nurtures and supports budding engineers and encourages them to study Engineering or Technical Design at University.  Iona would like to start her own company.

Watch this space for upcoming news on their progress!

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