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Bright Spark projects could save lives

By Liz Nicholls

Canterbury students have come up with two potentially life-saving projects for school science contest the Bright Spark Awards.

Teni Balogun and the Project StairGen team are finalists in the Bright Spark Awards 2018. (2342998)
Teni Balogun and the Project StairGen team are finalists in the Bright Spark Awards 2018. (2342998)

The competition is still open to entries from primary or secondary schools until noon on Friday, June 15.

The Project Earthquake team has created a system for detecting electric charges in rocks and could provide early warnings of earthquakes, while Project StairGen uses kinetic energy from people’s steps to light up stairs.

The Project StairGen team hope their project could help cut staircase falls, which they describe as the biggest cause of accidental death among elderly people.

Both teams of pupils are from the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.

The Project Earthquake duo are Zubair Asim and Kevin John. Kevin said: “The fact that we’ve been able to create this whole experiment inside a school means that it can be recreated in the real world for a very cheap price.”

Project StairGen was inspired by a collaboration with PaveGen, a London firm that developed a paving-slab system to convert energy from people's footsteps into electrical power.

Tim Launois, of the StairGen team, said: “Our vision is that this product could be adapted for any home as it has the potential to save lives of visually impaired or older people. It has the potential to be added to high-footfall areas such as museums and train stations.”

PaveGen was founded by a former Simon Langton pupil - Laurence Kemball-Cook - who is now the company's CEO.

“We believe passionately in increasing access to STEM opportunities and our interactive technology is installed in a growing list of schools in the UK, US and New Zealand," he said.

"One of our first installations was at Simon Langton school where we enabled the footsteps of students to power lighting in a corridor. It has been a great to watch the students and teachers continue to embrace technology and innovate and we wish the Project StairGen every success in the finals of the Bright Spark Awards competition!”

The two teams will join other finalists from across the county at a Dragons’ Den-style event at Discovery Park in Sandwich in July.

Bright Spark Awards 2018 finalists from Simon Langton Grammar School Zubair Asim and Kevin John of Project Earthquake. (2343147)
Bright Spark Awards 2018 finalists from Simon Langton Grammar School Zubair Asim and Kevin John of Project Earthquake. (2343147)

The Bright Spark Awards aim to engage youngsters in science and engineering and offer a top prize of £500 to be shared by the overall winning team.

There will also be a number of experience awards for stand-out projects, and every finalist will walk away with something.

They are accessible and easy to enter, with girls featuring prominently in stand-out projects in recent years. There is no limit to the number of entries a school or even a group of students can submit.

Finalists are filmed in school explaining their projects, and the videos will be shown at the Discovery Park event before the judges interview the teams and choose the winners.

The judging panel will include representatives from Megger, Global Associates, Pfizer, Discovery Park, Benenden Hospital Trust, BAE Systems, Astro Communications and Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes).

To enter, visit www.KmCharityTeam.co.uk/BrightSpark or contact event organiser Maxine Tarquini at mtarquini@thekmgroup.co.uk

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