National recognition for Joshua's invention
An invention by a pupil from St. Mary’s College has landed one of the top prizes in the country’s leading science competition for young people. 14-year-old Josh Quinlan, who lives in Southport, finished runner-up in the junior engineering and technology section of the National Science and Engineering Competition with his RaspberryMAGNIFY digital magnifier.
The competition finals were held at The Big Bang science fair in Birmingham, the UK’s largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for children and young people. The St. Mary’s student received a medal, a certificate and a £300 cash prize presented by TV science presenter and children’s author Jason Bradbury. Josh - who is partially sighted himself - impressed the judges with both the innovation and potential price of his invention to help people with visual impairment, created in St. Mary’s Science Club with the help of mentor John Sharp, a Liverpool University PhD student.
The RaspberryMAGNIFY can be produced at a fraction of the cost of most similar magnifiers currently on the market. This is because Josh’s product is powered by the Raspberry Pi, a popular cut-price computer selling for around £30 which has revolutionised the world of programming, especially for schoolchildren. Josh is now looking to develop the prototype magnifier - which already has its own website and Facebook page - into a more user friendly and marketable form, hopefully with the support of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
He commented, "It's been a real pleasure to work on this fantastic project. I wasn't expecting to do as well as I did but it's really nice that the RaspberryMAGNIFY has been so successful and people are interested in it."
Principal, Mike Kennedy, added, “Everyone at the school is delighted at Josh’s success with the magnifier which has been attracting a lot of attention. Just reaching the finals of a prestigious national competition like this one which attracts hundreds of entries each year is a major achievement, but to come away with one of the top prizes as well demonstrates just how good his invention is. The RaspberryMAGNIFY has real potential to improve people’s lives, and we’ll all be watching with keen interest how the product develops over the coming months.”