Longitude Explorer Prize 2017

Challenging young people to develop innovative, practical solutions that use the Internet of Things to improve health and wellbeing of people

What was the Longitude Explorer Prize 2017?

Run by Nesta and supported by IBM, the Longitude Explorer Prize 2017 set out to challenge school pupils to use the Internet of Things to tackle health issues.

Why did we do this?

Our objective was to inspire the next generation of inventors, designers, engineers and explorers to improve STEM skills and entrepreneurial skills as well as developing an understanding of how they can utilise the technology (IoT) for social good.

What happened?

  • 200 young people from the UK submitted over 60 ideas
  • Ten finalists were selected to build prototypes of their ideas
  • The winner was awarded a £10,000 prize


What did we learn?

  • The prize reached over 200 students, all of whom said they have a better understanding of entrepreneurship, tech and UK industry from the prize, 80% felt their STEM skills had improved.
  • All teachers reported that the prize was useful in inspiring young people to consider continuing development of their skills in technologies.
  • 60% of students found the topic interesting, while 40% found it fascinating. 
  • 96% of students felt the prize encouraged them to develop a better understanding and awareness about health issues faced by people nowadays and how they can be prevented. 

Read the Longitude Explorer Prize 2015 final report


Octopix (Southlands School, Lymington)

A prototype that helps people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder to communicate. Pupils developed a wearable badge that changes colour to reflect the emotions of its owner, based on a number of sensors that measure stress, heart rate, and speech and tone emotion to help people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder better communicate.


A water bottle that monitors water intake and will remind you if you need to drink more.

Combining fitness with gaming, the team created a web app and compatible device that gives users real life rewards for doing fitness activities. The rewards are aimed at gamers and would include in-game currency, paid apps for free and vouchers. They were a runner-up in the Prize.

A button carried by students with a mental health disability. When clicked it sends a direct signal to a teacher’s wristband, telling him/her that the student has a problem or needs to leave the lesson, giving them a notice discreetly and allowing them to provide help.

SeeO2 is a wearable wristband that detects the amount of pollution in the air around the user. It links to an app on the phone, where people can view the statistics and enter their start and end destination. The app will then calculate the safest, cleanest air quality route. The SeeO2 aims to protect people from dangerously high pollution levels. They were a runner-up in the Prize.

An app for young people and their families with recipes and exercises that can be done during cooking.

Soothe is a system to help people who suffer from panic attacks. A wristband that monitors a person’s stress levels will trigger a number of useful calming measures to help the user focus on their breathing and calm down. Research showed that this solution could potentially benefit war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who could benefit from non-medicalised help to manage their mental health. They were a runner-up in the Prize.

 A wearable device that alerts people when someone is having a panic attack. When the notification has been sent, methods of calming down display on the screen such as breathing exercises. Similarly on the receiver’s watch or phone, methods of helping the person are displayed.

A stress ball that allows users to fidget with it. Using pressure sensors, collected data can be transferred via Bluetooth to your phone or a computer to analyse when most stressful moments happened. This will enable users to analyse what situations cause stress and how to prevent or manage it.

A system of sensors around the homes of older people to track their daily routine. If someone is acting out of the ordinary a chosen person can be informed. The product aims to support people with dementia.

The team

Constance Agyeman

Director of International Development

Maddy Kavanagh

Programme Manager, Longitude Explorer Prize

Similar Challenges

Longitude Explorer Prize 2015

Encouraging young people to develop a new generation of satellite applications for social good

Longitude Explorer Prize 2020

Supporting young entrepreneurs to change the world with AI enabled tech.

Amazon Longitude Explorer Prize

Challenging young people to use technology to create an app, product or service that will make the world a better place