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First computer science fair programmed for success

November 22nd, 2016

Nearly 20 budding inventors demonstrated their imaginative programming projects to visitors at Monmouth School’s inaugural computer science fair.

The first CompSci Fair, held in the School’s library on Sunday afternoon, gave designers aged 10 upwards the opportunity to showcase their coded apps, games, websites and even robots.

sci3Among the clever creations, seen by nearly 100 guests, were a Raspberry Pi-controlled railway, a motor racing game and a student-built 3D printer.

James, 11, demonstrated his Christmas present surveillance system, with Raspberry Pi and PiCam concealed in a gift box, which relies on motion sensors to detect and photograph thieves.

And friends Melody, 13, and Phoebe, 12, talked guests through their Arduino and Python swipe card security system.

Lyndsay Hope, Head of Computing at Monmouth School, said: “The CompSci Fair went really well. A lot of children are interested in getting into these types of projects. At the fair they were able to ask questions and get inspiration and ideas. Talking to some of the demonstrators may well spark them on their own road to invention.”

The fair was preceded by a WyeHack meeting, which gave the inventors time to put the finishing touches to their projects.

These friendly and productive sessions, which are free and open to all local children interested in coding, are held regularly at Monmouth School to give like-minded youngsters a chance to develop ideas together.

Ms Hope added: “My personal favourite project on Sunday was a trivia quiz game connected to a mechanized Malteser dispenser, made by 10-year-old Matthew. It shoots Maltesers if you get the answer right!”

Another boy who generated a lot of interest at the fair with his high-flying hobby was 17-year-old Sam.

The Monmouth School pupil has successfully launched three balloons into space over the past few months in order to collect a series of beautiful pictures of Earth from above.

Sam has been developing his programming skills to make the balloons’ payloads, which carry a Raspberry Pi computer, GPS tracker, camera and radios, more advanced with each launch.

He has even started a High Altitude Balloon (HAB) Club for more than 40 members across the year groups at Monmouth School.

Ms Hope continued: “The possibilities are endless with computing.

“You can be incredibly creative with it. The fair combined all the computer science side of things with art, STEM subjects and humanities too.”

The next Wye Hack meeting, for children aged 10 to 19, takes place on Sunday, December 4, between 2 and 5pm.

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