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News

Jarrow schoolchildren research biometrics for competition entry

UK Biometrics International : 17 June, 2008  (Technical Article)
Enterprising school children from Newcastle have entered the Big Ideas ICT Youth Challenge with a mobile phone for children including biometric anti phone theft features
Jarrow schoolchildren research biometrics for competition entry
Four girls from Jarrow School spent a morning immersing themselves in the latest biometric technology at Newcastle upon Tyne based UK Biometrics as part of their entry for The Big Ideas ICT Youth Challenge 2008 competition. The competition calls for new business ideas based on information and communication technology from young people up to the age of twenty years. The girls aged eleven and twelve years are the youngest entrants in the UK.

Their idea is to market a mobile telephone especially for children. The girls surveyed over four hundred of their school friends and parents to determine what concerns they had. These included text bullying, unwanted calls from sales people, parental control so parents could determine which numbers and websites could be accessed, the ability to call family members or teachers in an emergency when their credit had run out, mobile 'Chat Rooms' to bring back the art of spoken conversation and a biometric device that would end mobile phone theft and mugging for mobile phones. The four approached UK Biometrics to find out about the latest technology.

UK Biometrics Technical Director Jon Telford says: "We spent a morning with the girls and were impressed with their grasp of the technology. We have been researching biometric security for palm held devices including mobile phones for over a year and many of the features requested by the girls are achievable with available technology. We wish them every success in the competition and look forward to signing contracts with our youngest ever technology partners in about four years time when they turn sixteen".

In addition to being the youngest entrants in The Big Ideas ICT Youth Challenge 2008, the girls are the youngest entrepreneurs to receive assistance from enterprise agency TEDCO.

TEDCO Enterprise Champion Carol Metcalfe says: "The girls' enthusiasm for their project rubs off on everyone they contact. They have already beaten off competition from much older groups during the early stages and will present their idea at 'The HotHouse Event' to be filmed by the BBC between 30th June and 4th July where the girls will present to a panel including Judges from Microsoft and BT.

In the picture can be seen (L to R) Jarrow school pupils Nicola Harkus (12 yrs), Sarah Wilson (11 yrs), Kelly Whitfield (12 yrs) and Lucy Charlton (11 yrs). (Front) Jon Telford, Technical Director, UK Biometrics.
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