40 teams of aspiring inventors named as finalists in the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize

  • Seoana Sherry-Brennan

    Seoana Sherry-Brennan

    Digital Communications and Prize Engagement Officer

    View profile

26 Apr 2021

From a sea-cleaning robot to an app that tackles period poverty, learn more about the 40 ideas in the running to win £20,000 for their school or youth group

We are thrilled to reveal the 40 finalist teams in the fifth Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize! The teams were chosen during a grueling deliberation session by the judging panel, which saw the judges whittling down over 150 impressive entries. 

The ideas put forward by the young people truly demonstrated their awareness of the issues currently facing society and their determination to solve them, with finalists include a sea-cleaning robot sphere that detects and removes microplastics with infrared sensors, and a hand sanitiser-dispensing and infrared thermometer phone case that reminds users to wash their hands and take their temperature regularly. Other game-changing ideas include an app that tackles period poverty and its link with female participation in sport and exercise by offering free monthly hygiene packs alongside motivation and fitness goals and mental health tips, and a platform that uses AI to teach people sign language.

It is a privilege to unveil the 40 inspirational teams that have been shortlisted for this year’s Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize,” says Programme Manager, Maddy Kavanagh. “We are so pleased that the prize is introducing more young people to the exciting opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths, supporting the growth of entrepreneurial life-skills, and developing their confidence at such a pivotal time. We can’t wait to see our teams develop their ideas into real-world prototypes in the next three months.”

Encouraging careers into STEM

The Prize received more than 150 entries this year from over 500 young people across the UK. The finalist teams will now be connected to an expert mentor from Amazon and other industry-leading organisations, who will mentor the teams on topics such as data analytics, software engineering, robotics, and app development, to create prototypes of their concepts to help determine the winner this July. They will also be invited to participate in the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prizes’ Enterprise Academy business day workshops and will also receive one-to-one technology support from FireTech UK – the UK’s leading technology course provider for children aged 8-17.

Supporting young people to discover a passion for – and ultimately consider future careers in – STEM is more vital than ever, and it’s fantastic to see such great engagement in the prize across the country,” says Lauren Kisser, Director at Amazon’s Development Centre in Cambridge, and Judge for the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize. “It’s been a joy to see what the nation’s next generation of inventors and innovators have come up with, especially under such unusual and challenging circumstances this year.”

One of the key aspects of the prize is to address the lack of diversity in STEM industries by providing young people from all backgrounds with an introduction to the possibilities of entrepreneurship in STEM. With the gender-divide in the STEM industries heavily skewed towards men and only 21% of patent applications featuring a named woman, the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize has worked hard to promote STEM  as an exciting career path for all genders. Impressively, more than half (58%) of all entrants to the 2021 Prize are young women.

In July, the winning team will be awarded £20,000 for its school or youth group, with three teams of runners-up to be awarded £5,000 each for their school or youth group. The public will also be given the chance to choose their favourite design in the People’s Choice Award in June, the winner of which will receive £5,000 prize money for its school or youth group. To learn more about each of the finalist solutions, head to the finalists page on the Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize website.

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