More than 60 people gathered at Woolf College at the University of Kent last weekend for the Kent Connects Transformed by you Innovation Day to find the final winner of this year’s challenge. There was a strong field of competition and very innovative ideas so the judges had a tough decision to make. The winning idea is an app called MyCycle and the winning team had three Computer Science students, Max Harris, Matthew Boakes and Jamie Pont, assisting with the development.The MyCycle app aims to connect less confident cyclists with experienced riders in their community and pair up novice cyclists looking to set out on bike rides around Canterbury and Kent with similarly intrepid locals. Whether for fun or as a means to speed up commuting & running errands in town, everyone would be able to use MyCycle-Kent to build up their expertise and confidence with the help of a more proficient rider, enjoying a safer and more relaxing time.
People will use the app to discover local cycling buddies, find the safest routes to their destination and track their progress over time in comparison with other new cyclists. Plans for future development include a school-cycle section to organise ‘cycle to school’ groups, which are safety checked and responsibly co-ordinated.
The MyCycle team came together on the day, and worked brilliantly together to develop and present their final idea. Team members are local resident Frederica Lowndes, Simon Langton Grammar School student Sam Gooch and his mum Sarah who came along with the idea for developing a cycling app and Pedro Romano. They were supported by University of Kent students Max Harris, Matthew Boakes and Jamie Pont who started work to develop the app.
The MyCycle team has won a package of support, worth £20,000, to help make the product idea reality. Support is provided by organisers Kent Connects and sponsors Cisco, Barclays Bank, Kent IT Consultancy, Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent Makerspace (The Shed). The team will benefit from development, business and marketing advice over the coming year.
The day was hosted by the University of Kent who sponsored the challenge as part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations and it day included a visit to The Shed, a MakerSpace which is part of the School of Computing. The space is equipped with a wide variety of machines (e.g. 3D printers and laser cutters) and development equipment (e.g. the Oculus Rift and Raspberry Pi to support new kinds of innovative teaching and learning by taking advantage of the increasing accessibility of electronics and engineering with a rapid prototyping capability. It was great to see 3D printing and digital laser cutting in action.