Coolest Projects International 2018 showcased young people with big ideas

28 May 2018

From left: Edie McPhillips (7) and Zoe Goodbody (7) from Wicklow town with their project titled ‘Daisy’s Got Talent’. Image: Conor McCabe Photography

Young people from all over the globe gathered at Coolest Projects to show their innovative and creative work.

The creativity and intelligence of young people from around the world was celebrated at Coolest Projects International in the RDS last Saturday (26 May).

More than 10,000 people flocked to the Dublin venue for the event, which included fun family activities such as STEM escape rooms, VR headset testing, workshops and flying drones.

Big ideas at Coolest Projects

Organised by the CoderDojo Foundation, more than 1,000 young people from Ireland, France, Argentina and many more were involved in the process. 700 projects were on display at RDS Simmonscourt during the event, ranging from an adventure game to teach farm safety, to a health tech app that enables people with special needs to communicate easily with the people around them.

Co-creator of the Raspberry Pi computer, Pete Lomas, gave the keynote speech at the event. The innovator discussed his passion for creating things, as well as the value of support given to him by teachers and mentors in his early years – a key element of the entire day.

Celebrating innovation

Dublin teenager Harvey Brezina Conniffe scooped the Future Maker prize at the awards ceremony, which celebrates young people using their coding and creative technology skills for the benefit of society. His project, ‘Intelligentia’, won the Virgin Media-sponsored prize.

Andrei Codreanu, Ioana Paulescu, David Daniel Candreanu and Bianca Laura Pasca from Timișoara in Romania won the Best International prize for their project, ‘AZ-Tech Teddy’. Adriana Cullinane from Clonakilty won the Best Education and Learning prize for her project, ‘Wonder Fair’.

Freddie Howells won the Openet Innovator prize for his project, a facial-recognition system for the elderly. Aisling Cowap from Dublin won the Best Female-Led prize for her project, ‘Girls Do Code’. Radu Matei Caravateanu from Romania won the Best Original Design prize for the project titled ‘The Cult’.

The CoderDojo based at Holy Family School in Dún Laoghaire won the coveted Coolest Club award.

An incredible standard this year

Rosa Langhammer, coordinator of Coolest Projects 2018 and general manager with the CoderDojo Foundation, said: “The standard this year was incredible, not just for the winners but for each of the 700 projects that took part. Since we started Coolest Projects seven years ago, it has expanded from a handful of projects to a large international event.”

Langhammer said that the aim of the event is to celebrate the creativity of young people, as well as show them the power of technology to change the world. She added that she hoped visitors would be inspired to join their local coding club, or even establish their own.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects