Pupils set emerging tech-idea challenge

Using modern technology to develop future innovations at a workshop in Dunedin yesterday are (top...
Using modern technology to develop future innovations at a workshop in Dunedin yesterday are (top from left) King's High School 16-year-olds Sherman Sreedhar, Chris Harbrow and Aliullah Aman, and (bottom from left) Cromwell College 16-year-olds Jonathan Streeter, Annabel Campbell and Arran Smith. Photos by Peter McIntosh.
Modern technology and young minds might be key to such future innovations as self-navigating lawnmowers, virtual home furnishing and user-adaptable positioning technology.

About 50 senior secondary school pupils from Dunedin, Cromwell and Gore developed proposals for the use of emerging technologies at a workshop organised by the University of Otago Business School in Dunedin yesterday.

The 2012 Otago Technology Innovation Challenge aimed to introduce pupils to the latest technology being researched within the business school's information science department.

In groups of three, pupils were asked to identify a problem which could be solved, or business concept to be developed, through the use of emerging technologies.

Ideas included the lazy lawnmower, which would determine the most efficient way to cut grass in a certain area then perform the task.

Another team explored the use of public consultation technology to develop and share recycling strategies within communities.

A GPS programme which could be adapted by users with smartphone technology to provide real-time traffic and road conditions, as well as best-route suggestions, was the brainchild of one team.

Others developed the idea of using digital technology to simulate various interior furnishings within a real space, enabling home buyers and decorators to test designs.

It was the sixth annual challenge, which was also being offered to Wellington pupils this week.

The day-long workshop culminated in the presentation of each team's proposal before a panel of judges.

Overall winners were King's High School pupils Cameron Rohtmets, Oscar Baker-Sherman and Brett Taggart.

Winners of the audience choice award were Jessie Manning, Sarah Pye and Ranui Ellison, of Queen's High School, while the best presentation award went to Thomas Stevenson, Ed Haslam and Sam Gabbusch, from Otago Boys' High School.

St Hilda's Collegiate pupils Brooke Craik, Sophia Cormack and Chelsea Whittaker won the award for the best understanding of technology.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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