During this year’s Raspberry Pi Competition students from across the country were invited to invent a programme that would transform travel and transport using a Raspberry Pi, the credit-card-size computer. The competition theme provided competitors with an opportunity to create solutions to tackle security issues, create a better experience for people with physical mobility challenges, or create the perfect yet least environmentally damaging journey.
Computer programme enthusiast and Year 10 student Ambrose reflects on how the team responded to the challenge.
“Earlier in 2019, the Blue Coat Computer Science department entered a team of six Year 10 students into the Raspberry Pi Competition. A Raspberry Pi is a type of computer which is the size of a credit card but powerful enough to run complex pieces of code. The competition required participants to create a piece of technology which will improve transport in any conceivable way. We opted to develop a facial recognition system to replace bus passes, with a particular leaning towards helping the environment by reducing the paper waste generated from bus tickets and helping passengers experiencing memory issues as they don’t need to remember a pass.
A simple user interface allows a bus driver to use the system without training. The idea is that passengers will be able to get on any bus using this system, since all buses will use a central database and can add or check traveller details. To make paper tickets redundant, the system uses people’s faces as their tickets for entry on to the bus. This is applicable for re-usable tickets; the tickets offered by our system can be valid for a variety of time-scales (prices can be set by the bus companies). This will also mean that people who have these tickets no longer have the problem of having to remember their bus pass or otherwise having to pay, hence increasing their satisfaction with public service and achieving our aim of helping those with dementia, amnesia, and other memory-loss problems.
We made it to the final three entries for our age group and were invited to travel down to London to present the idea to a panel of judges. The panel included the Marketing Manager of Rolls Royce, senior engineers for Transport for London and the BBC’s Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones. Whilst we didn’t win the competition, we all gained an insight into how to problem-solve with a team of strangers and useful skills for effective and efficient teamwork. The experience allowed myself and the rest of the team to make minor adjustments to our code so that the project would be perfect, and the Computer Science department have since used the system as a part of Open Evening, showing that the project can survive beyond the competition.”
Our Development Fund enabled our students to take part in the Raspberry Pi Competition final in London. Thanks to all our Development Fund supporters for providing our Year 10 students with this amazing opportunity.