Latest News

« Back to News

Clever buoys win public vote in national coding contest

August 18th, 2015


A trio of teenagers has won national support for their quacking invention, which could change the way pollution is detected in the world’s waters.

Over just four days, Ben, Harri, both 18, and Benedict, 17, brought Watt the Duck to life at Monmouth School in preparation for a national coding competition.

Under their team name, Buoy, the pupils put together a “genius combination” of Raspberry Pi computers, sensors and a duck to revolutionize how data from oceans, rivers and lakes is collected.

More than 1,200 children from 66 centres across the UK flocked to Birmingham’s ICC for Young Rewired State’s Festival of Code.

After gruelling presentations to industry experts at the “world’s largest hackathon”, judges crowned them winners of the Code a Better Country category.

And after a successful campaign, the boys have just won the following public vote (decided on the number of YouTube views) to crown the people’s favourite finalist out of 16.

Team Buoy’s presentation video was watched 2,508 times – more than 1,550 times more than their closest rivals’.

Harri said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic.

“When presenting Watt the Duck, it was apparent we’d struck a chord both with the judges and the audience – our Twitter hashtag, #WattTheDuck, got a laugh every time we presented.

“Over the course of the weekend, we became used to our new names as the ‘duck guys’, and definitely enjoyed our momentary fame.

“Since winning the public vote, we’ve been approached and congratulated by various people – most notably the judges and YRS staff, as well as people from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

“We are definitely looking at carrying this project forward, and excited to see what the future holds.”

The boys have set up a website,, to share news about their progress.

Their small, autonomous, Raspberry Pi-powered duck boat records and posts data about its environment, including temperature, humidity and UV readings, with live PiCam feed from the boat, to a web and mobile app client.

It represents these readings in charts, graphs and maps – potentially saving huge amounts of time, money and man power.

And they have already had interest from a venture capitalist, exploring supporting the invention’s development.

Click here to download the boys’ newsletter  and watch their presentation here.

For more on the boys’ festival experience, click here.

« Back to News