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Young Wick Team's Technology Project Wins Them Trip To USA

8th July 2009

Photograph of Young Wick Team's Technology Project Wins Them Trip To USA

Team TIC from Wick High school were among the finalists in a Highlands and Islands-wide information and communications technology competition.

The inventiveness and marketing skills of TIC saw them reach the last six of the 2009 ICT Youth Challenge and win the Microsoft-sponsored award for the project with the best commercial potential. While visiting the company's lab in Seattle in October, the team will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to Microsoft's Scots-born Vice President Bob McDowell.

The annual contest, now in its seventh year, sponsored by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), BT Scotland, Microsoft and other supporters, invites young people to submit ideas for information and communication technology of the future.

This year's competition attracted entries from 155 teams from all over the Highlands and Islands, more than any previous year. Six finalists last week took part in a residential "hothouse" at Fairburn Activity Centre, Ross-shire, fine tuning their ideas with help from experts in fields such as intellectual property rights, prototyping and commercialisation, before presenting their inventions to the judging panel.

TIC have spent the weeks of Youth Challenge developing their idea for the KIS (Keep it Simple) tablet, a multi-functional portable tablet which can show pictures and videos as well as making and receiving video calls, using the internet for online activities such as shopping and even control heating and lighting in the home.

Microsoft Scotland's Raymond O'Hare said "The breadth of the ideas this year showed how, given the opportunity, our young people can be truly visionary. As the competition progressed and they developed their ideas, the teams' inventiveness shone through. Everyone at Microsoft Scotland is really proud of the character, perseverance and innovation show by all the teams, and especially the winners."

Afnan Ullah Khan at BT, said: "KIS tablet is something for the future with huge potential for commercialisation. The team used open source software to implement their idea which showed devotion, commitment and expertise in IT"

Overall winners of the competition and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise Award for Design and Innovation were Passion from Ullapool High School.

Their reward, presented by HIE's director of Regional Competitiveness Alex Paterson at a prize-giving ceremony last Friday, will be a learning journey to Massachusetts Institute of Technology's world-renowned Media Lab in Boston in September.

John Mackenzie, Development Manager for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at HIE, said: "Once again the quality of ideas and the dedication of all the teams taking part this year clearly demonstrated that there is a real spirit of enterprise and innovation within the youth of the Highlands and Islands."

The winners of the BT Scotland-sponsored award for the idea demonstrating the best use of communications were Visual Radiance from Keith Grammar School, who won a visit to BT's Futurology Lab in Ipswich. While there they will be able to pitch their idea for custom-ad-clothing, a new method of advertising which uses movement or heat energy to generate electricity to display advertising on an electronic material.

KLACH from Dornoch Academy won the UHI Millennium Institute award. Their prize will be to visit a UHI institution to see first hand the research and development taking place and speak to key professionals about their idea.

Unfamous 5 from Sanday Junior High School in Orkney and Team Siren from Plockton High School were also finalists.

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony, Alex Paterson, told the teams reaching the finals of the competition was an incredible achievement.

He added: "All of the teams which took part in this competition have learnt a valuable new set of skills for the future and many of their ideas were outstandingly good. What this fantastic region needs is more people getting involved in technology, innovation and enterprise and these young people are leading the way."

On behalf of the delivery team, Ali Murray said: "We're really proud of all the teams. This competition helps them understand that in the Highlands and Islands today they really can do anything they want. They just have to believe in themselves, set goals, work hard and learn to use appropriate networks."

Donnchadh Neil Pellow, John William Coghill, Tomi Baikie, Declan Mackay

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