The Life of Dalriada’s (Raspberry) Pi!

TAKE a Raspberry Pi (which is a small credit-sized computer costing around £25) and give it to a small group of Dalriada pupils. Tell them to create something that could make the world a better place and what do you get?

An ingenious invention that could improve the lives of the elderly- indeed, millions of people!

Dalriada Robotics club successfully reached the finals of the UK wide Raspberry Pi competition recently.

So impressed were the organisers, PA Consulting, that they used their project as a ‘poster-child’ for the event. With Dalriada Robotics club versus the rest of the UK, this indeed was a challenge of the highest standard.

Thanks to Northern Ireland Electricity, who sponsored the team all the way and paid all their expenses, the Robotics team made their final pitch to a panel of judges. This was fairly nerve-racking when they realised who the judges were - Prof Andy Hopper (Head of Computing at Cambridge University), Barak Regev (Head of Google, Europe), Anita Chandraker (Director from PA Consulting), Zillah Byng-Maddick (CFO for Trader Media), Rory Cellan-Jones (BBC) and Clive Beale (from Raspberry Pi).

The team’s concept uses a Raspberry Pi connected to a GP’s computer (via the internet) that dispenses pills at specific times on specific dates.

In fact, the online pill dispenser can be set up to handle a variety of drugs and can be monitored remotely by any doctor,anywhere in the world. Refining it further, Dalriada’s Robotic team managed to come up with a way to detect if the patient had been following their prescription or not.

The Dalriads beat the competition and beat them well. All judges commented on the enthusiasm of each of the pupils and commended their creativity in designing a bespoke software and hardware solution.

Tim Gamble, Computing teacher at Dalriada, accompanied the pupils on their trip and said: “It’s been an amazing experience.

“When the pupils first started work on this project I don’t think any of us ever imagined it would get to this stage.

“The team have really enjoyed working on it and it has given them a great chance to understand how technology can be used in a practical way to deal with topical issues faced by senior citizens.

“I would like to thank NIE and Brian in particular for his help and support throughout the project and for inspiring the pupils to consider following a career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) field.”

Picking up a cheque for £1000 and seven new Raspberry Pi’s, the Dalriada Robotics team are dreaming of their next challenge. Watch this space!