A team of students from the Isle of Man has reached the semi-finals of the global Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Challenge by devising a device to reduce the number of drink/drug influenced driving incidents.
4 Legs of Mann was formed by lower sixth students at King William’s College - Zahra Khan (the CEO), Hannah Billinghurst, Alice Morris and Christian Thomas.
The annual competition was founded by late Apollo astronaut Pete Conrad and his wife, Nancy, and is open to students aged 13-18, who can enter one of four categories – Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber-Technology & Security, Energy & Environment, and Health & Nutrition. The ManSat Group sponsors Isle of Man teams each year by covering their entry fees.
Zahra said: ‘We are working on a device to reduce the incidence of drink/drug influenced driving (DUIs) using a key fob or the push-to-start button to detect whether a driver is under the influence. The car could then give a warning or even prevent someone from driving the vehicle.
‘We decided to enter the competition as it was an amazing opportunity to test our own abilities and ideas, as well as acquiring new skills and information in a competitive environment. We also wanted to provide both a global and viable solution to a problem faced in our chosen sector, health and nutrition.’
Niall Howell Evans, Head of Science at King William’s College, said: ‘Thanks to sponsorship from ManSat, the students have been able to pit themselves against students from all over the world. If the students reach the next round they will have the chance to present their design at the Spirit of Innovation Summit at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.
‘The ultimate goal is to win funding to further develop their product and perhaps make it a reality. Despite extensive campaigns from governments and pressure groups, people continue to drive under the influence. The students hope that adding an extra deterrent will help to reduce this, and hope that it will be of particular benefit to those who may choose to drive without knowing that the substance is still in their body.’
Ian Sanders, ManSat Group Chief Financial Officer, said: ‘The Spirit of Innovation challenges students to create innovative products or solutions, providing young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to develop the products of tomorrow.
‘This is the ninth year we have sponsored Isle of Man students to enter the challenge, and the team from KWC is following the footsteps of a team from QEII High School, which also reached the semi-finals three years ago.’
For more information about the Conrad Challenge, visit: http://www.conradchallenge.org/2017-challege/
ManSat was the originator of the Island’s space industry following its formation in 1998 and today works in partnership with Isle of Man Government, its core function carrying out satellite filing on behalf of the Isle of Man Communications Commission.
Photo - The 4 Legs of Mann team from King William’s College, semi-finalists in the global Conrad Challenge – left to right, lower sixth students Hannah Billinghurst, Zahra Khan, Christian Thomas, and Alice Morris.