Great technological advances need to be encouraged. Great technical minds such as Elon Musk – Tesla / Space X, Sir James Dyson – Dyson, Larry Page – Google, Bill Gates – Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook have all turned their creativity into huge financial success.
For others perhaps their inventiveness has become part of our everyday life, yet their names have been somewhat forgotten. I have in mind people such as John Logie Baird, what would life be like without his creation - the television? Mary Anderson faced a few sceptical drivers when she proposed her invention in 1903 – the first manual window-screen wiper. British whizz Joseph Swann actually beat Thomas Edison to inventing the light bulb by a year and successfully sued Edison for the patent. Robert Watson-Watt’s Radar is credited with helping to end The Blitz in 1941 and enabled the RAF to scramble their fighters to help defend Britain.
Not to forget the daddy of them all Tim Berners-Lee, Without Whom Where would we be?
All of the above people and many, many more have hugely and highly creative and fertile minds. From the first seedling a creative and fertile mind needs encouraging. It needs nurturing. It needs feeding. If an equally fertile and creative mind, already enjoying some success can promote the younger creative and fertile mind then we have trust that evolution will ensue.
So it was great joy we heard of ‘The Teen Tech Awards’. The brainchild of Maggie Philbin it has been organised to encourage our children to think and innovate ideas that could make life, easier, simpler or better. Held at the Royal Society of London the event saw a hundred talented school children come together with a whole raft of ideas. These included a pen that highlighted spelling mistakes, a watch to inform you if you have not eaten your five-a-day and a water-proof anklet for dementia suffers, worn to allow them more freedom.
On hand to judge the awards were a panel of esteemed judges including Stephen Fry, James May and the Duke of York, who voiced his encouragement of the awards.
“If we don't encourage young people to be interested in technology and the digital world and apply that knowledge then we are not going to be a rich country in the future,' he said.
The awards are open for teens from age 11 through to 16 who are permitted to work in teams of up to three people. The awards are split into fifteen categories including Energy, Transport and Wearable Technology.
The overall winners were students from Birkdale School in Sheffield with their idea to make cars safer by lowering the risk of slipping in bad conditions.
Max Doody and James Bradley, both 15, explained: 'We’re both keen motorsports fans and were chatting about the cars in a maths lesson.
'Our idea was that if a fan was used to suck the car down to the road, traction levels would be higher so in wet or icy conditions, the car would be a lot safer.'
We look forward to seeing the Teen Tech Awards flourish and celebrate that our future technology is in safe hands.
Until next timeJustin Ellis