Our Little Sandbox Invent members, Daniel Cash and Oliver Griffiths, entered the Big Bang competiton – the first time an independent kids tech club has competed – and were among the winners selected to represent the North West at the National Awards.

Their project – The Kerbinator 3000 – aims to address issues facing wheel chair users after one of our club volunteers expressed frustration that planning routes using google maps didn’t always turn out to be accessible because there was no way to know if there were any drop-kerbs.

Their solution is to develop a map that will utilise Google maps but would show the locations of drop-kerbs along the route. The pair wanted to create a way to gather that data by crowd sourcing information. The idea for the kerbinator is to have a button, that when pressed, records the users gps data and sends it to a website to populate the map. The schematics and code will be made open source and available to download from the website allowing people across the country to make their own kerbinator to record data in their local area, by pressing the button every time they find a drop-kerb.

The year 8 pupils Daniel, from St Michaels High School and Oliver, from Sacred Heart High School in Crosby, were both given special permission from their schools to attend the Big Bang Event, organised by All About Stem, which hosts businesses showcasing the range of jobs available to inspire young people towards STEM careers.

Little Sandbox Co-Founders, Chris Huffee and Helen Stephen, who have been mentoring the pair, were both delighted when the project also won 2 Inspiration Awards at the event – They scooped the Digital Innovation award, sponsored by Lime Pictures and The Bright Spark award, sponsored by Scottish Power.

Chris said “We’re thrilled that our inventors have been selected as finalists, representing the North West in the National Big Bang Awards next year.”

Helen said, “I’m so proud of everyone involved. I hope this recognition will inspire our members to continue to develop their tech skills.

The awards come after another win during Liverpool MakeFest last month when the pair pitched to Awesome Liverpool and were gifted £500 towards their project. The money will be used to hold a hack day, inviting the maker community to help them bring their project to life and allow them to make up 15 kerbinators to start collecting data to get the map started.

A representative from Awesome Liverpool said “Their pitch was one of our best. Short, simple; clear need, clear benefit to the community; with a working prototype and plan for the future. These two will go far.”

Earlier last month, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram was amazed when he visited Little Sandbox and heard all about the project from Daniel. The Mayors office sent their congratulations to the team and said “This is fantastic news, best of luck to them from here on in.”