Belfast Telegraph

Young innovators have got future mapped out

Once again a heart-warming trip to the Odyssey Arena. This time it wasn't to see Peter Kay but to the finale of the Sentinus Young Innovators 2011 compeition.

For those of you who don't know, Sentinus is the not-for-profit body which promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in schools throughout the land to 50,000 students annually.

And what a job they're doing. The floor of the arena was awash with some fantastic technology ideas from some of our most talented students of all ages from nine to 21.

You could easily mistake some of the designs on show as that of qualified career engineers. Take, for instance, the "School in a Box", an ingeniously-produced reinforced cardboard table and desk which folds up into a backpack designed for schoolchildren in the developing world. Or the robot designed to help less able-bodied people carry out simple tasks.

More of these next week but in the meantime it has been great to see not just the design ideas but also the infectious enthusiasm demonstrated by the students.

Sentinus are certainly on the right tracks if they're going to get more people to study STEM subjects.

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