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Students impress with innovative ideas at the Smarter Planet challenge

Friday 17 April 2015

IBM, a world-leading technology firm, challenged some of Richmond upon Thames College's brightest students to present their ideas for innovations that would make our planet smarter. Students from art, business, engineering, science and computing were mixed up into six teams and given 40 minutes to collaborate on world-changing ideas. This was after a day of being inspired by some of IBM's own jaw-dropping forthcoming innovations.

Students presented on specific topics and came up with the following ideas:

1. Smart food: A fridge that keeps track of the length of time an item is in the fridge and alerts you when it nears the expiry date, aimed at reducing the chances of food spoilage.

2. Smart water: A device which tracks the volume and location of water usage in homes and reports useful information and tips through a mobile app.

3. Smart healthcare: An app that finds the nearest and least busy A&Es in hospitals to mitigate the problem of excessive waiting time.

4. Smart travel: A system that measures the congestion in trains and responds by transferring carriages from empty trains to those in high demand.

5. Smart parenting: A device that senses the mood and condition of babies connected to an app that helps parents respond to their baby's needs ahead of time.

6. Smart fuel (the winning team): Home-grown biofuels which can be traded between individuals using an app that keeps track of each person's/household's biofuel supply.

Cailean Hargrave and Sam Hector, representatives from IBM and their educational business partner Portal, were the judges, alongside Janna Perryman, one of our curriculum directors, and Nicky Lupton, our Assistant Principal. The students' ideas were very well received by Hargrave and Hector who found the dynamism and enthusiasm of our students outstanding.

"We've taken the best of the best from a range of different curriculum areas and they came up with some phenomenal ideas that solved global challenges," said Hargrave.

"When they got on stage and got the opportunity to present their really original, credible ideas, they shone," commented Hector.

A thrilling day of imagining future possibilities ended with two students, Iona Duncan and Harry Sadlier, being awarded invaluable work experience at IBM. They were both shocked but excited about what this opportunity means for their future.

"It is very encouraging that they want me for work experience. I hope that it will lead towards a very promising career either at IBM or with other big multinational corporations," said Iona.

"I was thinking about going down a career like technology sales before. Now I'm edging more towards it. It's fun to talk to people about ideas and about things that you believe in and try to translate your passion into something that they can agree with," said Harry.

It was a mentally-taxing day for the Richmond students but one that they all said they thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from.


This is one of the many enriching activities our students get involved in. Apply now to Richmond upon Thames College, join us in September and be on your way towards excellence. 

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