Norwich teen scoops £4,000 prize for out of this world space idea
- Credit: UK Space Agency/NASA
A Norfolk student has seen his idea win national recognition and a £4,000 prize in a competition run by the UK Space Agency.
The SatelLife Competition, in its third year, offers young people expert advice and a share of £50,000 for ideas of how satellites could improve life on Earth.
Dozens from across the UK submitted innovative proposals that have the potential to use data collected from space to benefit the economy, health or the environment.
MORE: Norfolk pupils’ cyber skills win national online challengeAdam Watney, 15, from Norwich, won the runner-up prize for his idea ‘Charge Finder’, an app that aims to assist people with electric cars to locate the nearest available charging point.
If the charge point is too far away for the range of the vehicle, the app will suggest waiting until a more local ‘in use’ location becomes available.
He said: “I’ve always been really interested in both electric cars and space technology. I think electric cars will become much more prevalent and so I was trying to think of an idea that could make the transition from combustion engines to electric easier.”
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Ideas in the competition ranged from apps that predict crop health, to contact tracing in a pandemic, and those closer to home could see their lives improved with a wrist band to guide and support those with dementia.
Adam was one of seven runners-up in the competition. Other winning entries were an idea for an app tracking illegal sand extraction and a pin badge that monitors air pollution.
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British ESA astronaut Tim Peake said: “Satellites are essential to everyday activities. When data collected by satellites are applied creatively, we can look to solve many of the problems we face on Earth.
“The UK space sector is an exciting place to work, and jobs in space are not just for astronauts. Careers include analysts, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, I do not doubt that in the future these exceptional young people will be at the front of the line for these jobs.”
MORE: Youngsters’ mental health boosting game lands plaudits at national competitionAdam and the other winners will now get to pitch their ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’ at the Harwell Space Cluster in October for the chance to win further prizes.
Previous awards have included additional funding, patent advice and invitations to discuss job opportunities as well as introductions to the other relevant experts for further help.
The SatelLife competition has seen previous winners go on to careers in the space sector and continue to develop their idea into reality.