Finalist category: BT Young Pioneer Award
BT Young Pioneer Award, Winner, 2021
My name is Otto Sutton. I am 11 years old and have nearly finished year 7. I’m interested in computers, science, and the natural world.
My competition entry was inspired by two things – a film (The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind) about a boy who learns how to build a windmill using bicycle parts to help save his village’s failing crops; and a school computing lesson on developing original ideas to better the environment.
Those sources helped me appreciate how repurposing an object to meet another use could benefit others, and planted the seed
for my machine learning App ‘FrankEinstein’. Merging the names of Victor Frankenstein and Albert Einstein, the emphasis of the E in FrankEinstein is to promote the environmental benefits of the App.
My idea is for an automatic ‘upcycling ideas’ App. The user opens the App, takes a photograph of a product and the App then responds to the user with suggestions on how the product, or its components, could be upcycled. E.g. ‘why not turn these bike tyres into sandals by following a link to these instructions…?’
My project aims to encourage people to think differently about waste, to see it as a creative opportunity and not as a problem. Anybody can use the App and those with an enquiring mind can get involved to invent new ideas. A communal database of components would be generated, which would benefit users who either need specific parts for their own upcycling projects or who want to work with others for larger group projects.
The App will promote the concept ‘Think Big, Act Local’. People would be connected worldwide through a shared interest in recycling, climate action and innovation via repurposing.
The environment would also benefit, as the App seeks to identify and eliminate sources of waste, helping to reduce the energy and materials needed to make new things.