Year 8 pupils spent a wonderful day with 31 schools at this year’s Teen Tech at Surrey Sports Park.

During the day they visited three zones – ‘Insight’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Challenge’.

In the ‘Insight’ zone the pupils were split into two groups: Group A visited BCS Berkshire, BAE systems – applied intelligence and IChemE. Here they discovered Haptics with a virtual drum, which responded to where they hit the air and gave kick-back as a real instrument would.

Group B visited NPL, Meru and Maplin. Charlotte and Chloe wrote:
“At NPL we looked at the dolls of confusion (wooden dolls with different sizes and weights). We had to put pieces of wood in order of weight, just by feeling them. They were all different sizes which made it more confusing. It turned out that the biggest one was the lightest and Charlotte and I got it completely wrong! Next we swapped around and learnt about liquid nitrogen. We found out the boiling point which was -195.79 °C. I asked what would happened if you got it on you. They demonstrated by throwing liquid nitrogen all over each over and it turned to gas, like a sheet of cloud over the floor – it was really cool. We watched them freeze the air inside a balloon by pouring the liquid hydrogen on it. The balloon shrivelled up and when it was taken out of the hydrogen it re-inflated.”

“On our visit to Maplin we did a challenge that involved putting one-way cables the right way round, activating cables using magnets, answering a question and writing the number 13 in binary. After that we each entered a competition which was to write 10 in binary. Finishing the visit we received gift bags with a notepad and pen. I really enjoyed the trip especially the NPL visit”

Next was the ‘Innovation’ zone. With only a short time to think of an idea which could transform their lives, the group came up with the concept of a bullet bike. They had just 30 minutes for the five components, design, impact, user experience, marketing and hardware.

Robert said “We had to create an idea for an invention to make life easier in the future, with a prototype design and a sales pitch for it. We came up with an idea for a bullet bike (based on the Japanese Bullet Train and liquid nitrogen). I was helping to design the bullet bike and we tried to make it look as futuristic as possible. The other people in the group worked on marketing, power sources, the one-minute pitch, and other aspects of the design. Our group won the ‘tech tinkerers award’. The task was fun and got us to work together”.
In the ‘Challenge’ zone the group visited Guildford college digital art department and listened to a presentation by a global communications company, Level 3.

Omar said “At Guildford College we used two different apps for our pictures; flow paper (firework drawing app) and art rage (a professional drawing app). I particularly enjoyed the art rage app because there were eight different modes of drawing, metallic and rough types of papers, more colours and textures as well. We had to draw a snail which was quite hard as the screen was very sensitive.”

Michael wrote “Our final stop before the closing ceremony was at a company called Level 3. They lay cables under the ocean and across oceans. If you message a person in America there is a high chance you will use one of their cables to send the message across the ocean. Your message goes… Router-> Cables under street -> data centre-> Cable boat -> cables under ocean then in reverse back to the router and onto your phone. Because it is a large company it gets lots of cyber-attacks. The computer showed about 50 per minute and it was showing every 28th attack. 50*28= 1400 attacks per minute! But of course the best part of the whole section was the fact that we got lightsabers at the end!”