Inventors head up challenge to create new tech

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Innovative students from Lightcliffe Academy have helped launch a ‘wearable technology’ challenge aimed to inspire the next generation of digital entrepreneurs.

The challenge – created by Premier Farnell and supported by the Ahead Partnership and Leeds Beckett University – is to design a new piece of wearable technology in a bid to encourage young people to pursue a career which utilises a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) discipline.

Steven Webb, Company Secretary at Premier Farnell, said: “We ran this competition last year with five schools in Leeds and this year will see 10 schools take part which is fantastic.

“Coding in education is critical for us as a business as it is these young people who will become our stars of the future.”

Each of the 10 schools received five CodeBug development boards - a wearable piece of tech designed to introduce programming and electronics concepts to younger age groups - as well as additional budget provided by Premier Farnell to spend on electronic components required in order to complete their designs.  

Nick Cope, Associate Dean for Enterprise and Employability at Leeds Beckett University, said: “Leeds Beckett University is delighted to be involved in this exciting project.

“It gives our students the opportunity to share their expertise and gain valuable experience of working with young people in our region. Projects such as this open young people’s eyes to the opportunities available to them in the important areas of innovative design, technology and engineering for their future studies and careers.”

The winners of the ‘Wearable Technology’ competition will be announced on March 15 where each school will have the opportunity to display their best design before a panel of judges.

It is expected that 170 million wearable devices will have been sold by 2016. Prominent examples of wearable devices include smart watches and fitness devices which track heart rate and temperature.