BRIGHT young girls have won a science and technology competition with an innovative drawing board for disabled people.
The five Year 8 pupils from Park Community School, in Leigh Park, came up with an idea to create a drawing board which allows the users to draw a straight line. It is particularly helpful for disabled people or elderly people.
It was inspired by 13-year-old Victoria Edwards who had a stroke two years ago. She found it frustrating not to be able to draw a straight line with her left hand, which was affected by the stroke.
The board allows paper to be moved in any direction and incorporates a ruler fastened with Velcro that can be moved one-handed but does not move when in use.
Victoria and classmates Chloe Bolton, Shanice Cowlin, Rebecca Etherington, Shannon Fuller and Paige Plant, all 13, volunteered for the competition and have been designing, testing and making the prototype of the board since March.
They were announced regional winners of the National Science and Engineering Competition at the Big Bang Science Fair in West Sussex.
Their entry beat 14 other schools from across the south and the achievement was made even more impressive because it’s the first time the school has entered the competition.
They will now go forward to the national finals in March.
Victoria said: ‘I like the board because it enables me to draw straight lines and gives me freedom to draw whatever I want.’
Judges suggested to the group they should consider patenting the design.
They researched the idea online and told the pupils they did not believe it had been done before.
Deputy headteacher Sue Walker said she was very proud of the girls’ achievement and added that it was ‘not beyond the realms of possibility’ that the school could move it on and try to market the idea.
Jo McKinney, projects manager of the National Science and Engineering Competition, said: ‘The quality of entries was very high this year.
‘In particular the drawing board was a solution to a real problem and is a unique concept.’
Shannon said: ‘We’re really proud and surprised that we’ve done so well.
‘We’ve really enjoyed doing it and would definitely enter the competition again next year.’