Cambridge students reach science and engineering final with robotic seed planter

The remote-controlled ElectroPi is designed to plant and water seeds based on soil moisture levels.

A group of students from Cambridge have made their way to the finals of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Competition, with their robotic seed planter.

The students, from St Faith's School in Cambridge, caught the judges’ eyes with their ElectroPi, a unique invention that is designed to plant and water seeds based on soil moisture levels. The remote-controlled device was created to expedite planting time and improve the quality of planting conditions. The ElectroPi is controlled from a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone.

St Faith’s School year 8 pupils Ryan Stubbs and William Bradshaw are the brains behind the ElectroPi, which features another amazing Cambridge invention at its heart: the Raspberry Pi.

As part of their project entry, Ryan and William commented: “We have always had a passion for engineering, and we wanted to find a way to help the environment that would get everybody excited. Our robotic seed planter may impact the wider community by inspiring people to be creative in helping the environment as well as making eco-friendly equipment enjoyable and accessible for all ages.”

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive for EngineeringUK, said: “Ryan and William really impressed the judges with their project that took a creative approach, drawing on their science, engineering and tech skills, to come up with a solution to real problems. It is a huge achievement to progress to this stage of the competition and they should be incredibly proud to take up their place and compete this year.

“We received hundreds of incredible entries and the quality of the work undertaken impresses us each year. Young people have shown incredible resilience and determination during the past couple of years and the ambition, passion and enthusiasm the students show for their projects is truly inspiring.”

Should they win, Ryan and William will receive a £750 prize, with 3 runners up receiving £250 for their projects. The award ceremony will also see some overall winners crowned, with awards such as the UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Engineer of the Year, who will each receive a £2,000 prize. The Big Bang Competition awards ceremony will take on 22 June, 2022.

St Faith’s school in Cambridge has something of a pedigree for producing science and engineering talent. Last year, year 8 student James Barber won The Big Bang Competition's ‘Junior Science’ category for his project, entitled ‘An investigation into the anti-microbial properties of different mouthwashes’.

You can watch a YouTube video about James’ winning project here:

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