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Stoke Park Junior School

Achieving Excellence

Year 6 News

IBM Festival of Innovation



The 14th September saw four lucky Year 6 children (Megan, Grace, Harvey & Nathan) have the opportunity to visit IBM Hursley for this years Festival of Innovation. When the children heard of the event and some of the technologies that they would see, the collective feeling was that it would be a "cool" way to spend an afternoon. Who wouldn't get excited about a machine that gives out sweet or sour candies depending upon whether it likes what you say?

The children were suitably impressed by the grounds as we approached the main building. We collected our passes and were shown through the secure outer area into a green and leafy solarium with dinosaur noises permeating the air (IBM have been instrumental in revamping the dinosaurs at Blackgang Chine's Land of Imagination on the Isle of Wight). 

The students were (obviously) drawn straight to a foosball table, this one however was connected to the Internet of Things, so as the children played their game, sensors in the goal tweeted news of their success, their final score being broadcast to the world as it happened. 


The triumphant winners. 
The runners up. 

 Following a couple of games, we moved on to the computer that was able to determine whether words spoken into a microphone are positive or negative and then dispensed jelly beans with a sweet or sour flavour accordingly. We stayed there a long time. 

The main hall was full of people around stands displaying various bits of technology, some had graphical displays that looked like the inside of Sherlock's head whilst others were far too techy to be visually exciting and displayed the raw code. 

In the photos below you can see a computer learning how to play Guess Who & Rock, paper, scissors and a BB-8 drone that was sent to the edge of space. 

Another hall in the old building held perhaps the most exciting room. A Lego Mindstorms robot had been programmed to solve a Rubix Cube (video below), and an xbox kinect sensor that allowed the children to participate in all sorts of on screen activities. The disco scene was truly a sight to behold. 



After they had danced in an underwater disco, the children witnessed a remote control car that could be controlled via a mobile phone and learnt how advertisers are starting to use the mobile phone networks to communicate with commuters' devices as they travel through train stations, displaying adverts on large screens which are based on the website viewing habits of those commuters.

We also saw software designed around the old detective's "crazy wall" pin board that appear in many films and police series, this computerised version is being used by many international crime-fighting agencies as a way to link information together in a highly visual way. The children were also impressed that it is being used to track cattle in Australia! We controlled a droid without actually touching anything too, just using the power of gestures. The force is strong with this one! 

A really memorable afternoon. A big thank you to Mrs Storey for the invitation, and to IBM for allowing us to take part, a great experience.