Last week, two Lower Sixth students Joseph Birch and Finley Stirk travelled up to the NEC in Birmingham to take part in the Big Bang Fair 2023, the UK’s biggest STEM celebration for young people.

They were invited up to showcase their entry into the Big Bang Competition, for which they had been named as finalists. They also found out that they had won the Intellectual Property Office Award for Outstanding Innovator.

Joe explains, “Our project, Auto-Mate, aims to use robotics and engineering to create a board to enhance the accessibility of board games. We focused on chess and decided to integrate eye-gaze tracking and voice commands with a board that is capable of moving around pieces autonomously. This means a user with a motor disability, such as arthritis or cerebral palsy, can play chess when normally they may not be able to.” 

Students win award at Big Bang Fair 2023

Joe and Fin collaborated with another couple of students, including a former Trinity classmate, from King’s Maths School and they all travelled up to the NEC together. 

The Big Bang Fair was an awesome opportunity to showcase our project and inspire younger engineers from all around the country”, continues Joe. “There were thousands of students from various schools attending, as well as organisations such as Rolls-Royce and the Royal Air Force. Throughout the day we were able to talk about our project to students, teachers, judges, and industry experts getting really insightful feedback and opinions on our work. 

“We were fortunate enough to win the Intellectual Property Office Award for Outstanding Innovator for our team’s project. This has given us funding to help with the future development of Auto-Mate. We would love to refine our design as it is still quite an early prototype. We also hope to expand its functionality to other board games in the future.  

“Overall, the Big Bang Competition has been a very rewarding experience and we would certainly recommend other students enter with their own projects next year.” 

Congratulations to both students on an incredible idea and concept development. 

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