GDST girls using their creativity, drive and innovative thinking to tackle global challenges have been recognised with a national technology prize.
Team Elektrica from Wimbledon High School has won the People’s Choice Award of the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize, scooping £5,000 for STEM development at their school.
The Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize – open to students across the UK – challenges young, forward-thinking minds to design and develop technological solutions to the big issues of our time that deliver social good.
Team Elektrica, made up of 14-year-olds Elspie Macpherson and Lara Kerr, won for their game-changing solution ‘Bioclear’, a spherical robot that operates in water to detect and remove microplastics through infrared sensors, trapping them as a ferrofluid (made with oil and magnetite) to magnets in the back of the biobot, whilst allowing purified water to escape through a manta net. The judges were hugely impressed with their entry so were pleased to see the public’s enthusiasm for it.
Speaking about the inspiration behind their solution, Lara says,
“Microplastics are a leading cause of death in marine wildlife and can be ingested by all organisms, from zooplankton, which is at the base of the food chain, to whales, turtles, and seabirds. Microplastics, also harmful for humans, are being consumed through food deemed fit for consumption. It’s approximated that the average European sea-food eater consumes 11,000 plastic particles annually.”
Team Elektrica’s solution tackles the root of the problem by removing the microplastics from the water before they are ingested by the zooplankton. Elspie explains,
“If microplastics have not been consumed by the bottom of the food chain, then almost no microplastics will occur in organisms higher up the food chain, including humans.”
Our congratulations to the winner, runners-up and to all of the 40 Finalists, which includes two teams from Notting Hill & Ealing High School (GDST).
Learn more about the Prize and the winning projects here.