Young programmers challenged to help people lead healthier lives

PUPILS and students are being challenged to harness the power of technology to help people lead healthier lives.

A Raspberry Pi computer in use
A Raspberry Pi computer in use

PA Consulting Group wants young people to use the Raspberry Pi mini-computer to “revolutionise health and wellbeing” as part of its third annual programming challenge.

The credit-card sized computer, which is distributed by Leeds-based Premier Farnell, allows users to learn the basics of programming and teaches them how to manipulate the electronic world around them.

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The London-based management consultancy said teams must invent something that will help people lead healthier lives.

Ideas could range from wearable technologies that ensure patients take their medication on time, to a health and fitness programme tailored to an individual’s needs, or a system that could streamline a hospital’s processes to make it more efficient.

The competition has categories for primary schools, secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges and university undergraduates.

Anita Chandraker, head of IT delivery at PA, said: “The competition gives entrants the opportunity to discover what they can achieve through coding in a fun and informal way.

“Our aim is to help support the teaching and learning of computing, science, design and technology and also inspire the UK’s next generation of tech experts.”

Winning innovations from previous years include a robot to help with the household recycling, an automatic pill dispenser, a forest fire detector and a device to help less-mobile people answer their front door – invented by a group of primary school children.

PA launched the competition in 2012 in response to a fall in programming skills and to tackle the growing talent gap in programming and coding. The Government’s new computing curriculum goes live next month.