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Innovative design and technology consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership has been invited to participate today at Think Computer Science, an annual student event run by Microsoft Research Cambridge that showcases the field of computer science.

Partnering with the Cambridge Science Centre, an educational charity dedicated to bringing science, technology, engineering and maths to life, a team from Cambridge Design Partnership will today take part in a technical demonstration for over 650 young people and 80 teachers from over 50 secondary schools across the UK.

Cambridge Design Partnership has an on-going commitment to help inspire young people to become the scientists and engineers of the future. An issue of national importance, the UK has ‘a substantial demand for engineers’ according to Professor John Perkins, chief scientific adviser for UK Government. He has issued ‘a call to action’ to Government, industry and educators to ‘step up’ to inspire future engineering talent and address skills shortages.

Led by the company’s STEM ambassador, Ben Crundwell, Cambridge Design Partnership’s team recently took part in the Chain Reaction, an exciting educational science event run by Cambridge Science Centre which saw over 50 fun contraptions built by school teams and STEM (Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics) groups, which were then linked to trigger each other in the event finale.

Their Chain Reaction mechanism features a Raspberry Pi educational computer that targets a ping-pong ball cannon. A camera is programmed to autonomously identify, track and knock down three coloured targets, which each in turn triggers a different marble run, culminating in a weight being knocked into a bucket.

Andy Donnelly, Head of Development at Cambridge Science Centre, commented “Cambridge Design Partnership’s mechanism is great; it attracted a lot of interest at Chain Reaction and we knew it would appeal to older children who are attending Think Computer Science today. We’re pleased to build a relationship with Cambridge Design Partnership, as they have a strong focus on encouraging an interest in engineering and science through fun and educational activities.”

Ben Crundwell, Electronics Engineer at CDP said, “Our innovative mechanism was designed to inspire and interest young people, using our electronics and software experience. Lots of children are keen to learn about how it all works – we’ve even had an 8-year old trying to debug our software code for us! We look forward to talking to older children today at Think Computer Science.”

Think Computer Science is an educational, inspirational day that showcases the field of Computer Science, hosted by Microsoft Research Cambridge. It is being held at Duxford Imperial War Museum today, 3 December. To find out more visit: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/cambridge/events/thinkcomputerscience/default.htm

The Chain Reaction was held on November 9th in Cambridge. It was organised by Cambridge Science Centre, and included science and engineering demonstrations and activities before the chain reaction finale rounded off the day. To find out more visit: http://www.cambridgesciencecentre.org/whats-on/exhibitions/chainreaction2013/

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