Youngsters will need to take their brain power to Opportunities Fair

FUTURISTIC Kevin Brown, senior inventor at IBM, wearing the mind-reading headset.
FUTURISTIC Kevin Brown, senior inventor at IBM, wearing the mind-reading headset.
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PORTSMOUTH’S school children will be getting the chance to try out their skills as Jedi Knights on Sunday.

They’ll be using the force – or more accurately their brain power – to move a toy car.

The brain-powered car is part of IBM’s exhibition at the Portsmouth Opportunities Fair on Sunday, and is set to be a big hit.

Not only will youngsters aged between 10 and 13 get the chance to try out the machine, they’ll get to find out more about what the technology firm does, and why a career in science can be open to anyone.

Marcus Davidson, IBM marketing manager, said the company has been involved in setting up the Opportunities Fair, and is looking forward to telling youngsters that science can be cool

He said: ‘When we go into primary schools we ask the children what they think a scientist looks like.

‘They say the usual, white coat, glasses...but after they’ve done a few experiments we ask them again what a scientist looks like, and they say “us”.

‘That’s fantastic, and that’s what we’re trying to get across – that science can be fun, it is cool, and anyone can be a scientist if they want to.’

Marcus said IBM is still recognised as still being involved with computers, so going to the Opportunities Fair would be a way of telling the youngsters, and their parents, that that isn’t necessarily the case.

He said: ‘We’ve got two amazing exhibitions, and the first one is something that has been called the brain-powered car.’

The children use their brain waves first to move a computerised cube, and then attempt to move the car.

Marcus said: ‘It’s superb. I went home and told my sons I’d been in training to be a Jedi Knight.’

The second exhibit IBM will be taking to the fair, which is at the Guildhall, is SiSi.

It stands for See It, Sign It, and was developed by a group of students on a three-month placement with IBM.

Those attending the fair will be able to type in words and SiSi will convert those words to sign language actions played out by an avatar.

‘This is something developed by IBM that actually has wider implications for the whole world,’ added Marcus.

The Opportunities Fair takes place Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday between 10am and 3pm and is free to attend.