Portlethen in UK challenge semi-final

Portlethen Academy
Portlethen Academy

Portlethen Academy is among five Scottish schools in the semi-finals of a challenge to develop solutions for dementia and climate change.

The Longitude Explorer Prize invited 11-16 year-olds to come up with innovative answers that use Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning or technology to solve some of the biggest challenges of our time, including ageing populations and sustainable transport.

Portlethen is among 60 semi-finalists from the first round of entries.

Its project is “Dementia Prevention Phone (DPP)”, a phone that communicates with someone using voices of family members, helping encourage them to stay mentally and physically active.

At an all-day event in London, Portlethen pupils will meet the other competing teams and take part in workshops to help develop their ideas to become one of the finalists at the end of the Spring school term.

Nesta Challenges and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently named the semi-finalists from secondary schools and youth groups throughout the UK.

Other ideas include a bin that scans people’s rubbish informing them of what could be recycled, an AI therapy dog designed by autistic children for autistic children to help them in social situations and a device that reduces congestion through AI by adjusting traffic lights in real time.

Portlethen head teacher Neil Morrison said: “I am delighted that the students involved in the Dementia Prevention Phone project have reached the semi-finals.

“Their innovation and commitment to this challenge to help those with dementia stay mentally and physically active is a real inspiration to us all.”

Education committee chair Councillor Gillian Owen added: “It is truly heartening to hear that students within our schools are shaping up to be the engineers and scientists of the future and I wish the Portlethen Academy team the very best of luck in the challenge.”