Saturday, March 29, 2008

Four school kids from Ashfold School in Buckinghamshire have designed a gadget called Speed Searcher. They beat hundreds of adults to win the Innovation Nation competition at the Ideal Homes exhibition.

The Speed Searcher is supposed to allow items such as keys and trainers to be easily located if they've been lost in your house. This was one of the main Newsround stories on Friday. Helen, reporting on the prize-winning device, pointed out that it hadn't been made yet.

One of the young inventors told Helen how it works. He said "it finds stuff for you. So if you lose your trainers and you've put a chip on it, you go to the Speed Searcher and you type it in, your postcode, and you will come up with a floor plan of your house. And there will be this red flashing dot in a room, and you go to that room and pick it up."

The Speed Searcher seemed to have snazzy looking software with an "S" logo. The location chip tags were marked with the same "S" design to match the software.

It would have been nice to have a little more detail about the technology to make it work. Maybe Ashfold School had in mind utilising RFID tags, but some kind of triangulation method would be needed to locate the lost item, and I can't see how they intend to implement the gadget with the necessary accuracy.

Today Newsround reported on a campaign to get free travel for teenagers. The news item began with students in Manchester signing a petition. Then David Chaytor MP explained why he thought it was a good idea, including benefits to the environment.

But Newsround explained some drawbacks to the free travel proposal - Peter Kavanagh said bus drivers are worried about a possible increase in violence such as drivers being spat at and punched or general unruly antisocial behaviour. Gavin said that this had happened in Essex, and police officers now travel on buses with pupils. He ended by saying that people in favour of the scheme believe it's not fair to allow the bad behaviour of a few to stop other people from enjoying the benefits of being able to travel for free.

This seemed a balanced, impartial and well presented report which allowed viewers to make up their own minds on the merits or otherwise of moving towards free travel for teens.

No comments: