Plastics in the oceans are becoming more common (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A robot fish that hoovers up plastic from the oceans, and a t-shirt that detects heart problems, are just two of the ideas from teams of young people hoping to scoop a £25,000 tech prize.

A shortlist of 40 teams of youngsters from across the UK was announced on Monday, all competing to take the Longitude Explorer Prize back to their school or youth group.

The prize calls on 11-16 year olds to put their ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit to the test and use technology, such as artificial intelligence, for social good. They have been challenged to create and develop solutions for some of the world’s biggest issues, including climate change, living healthier lives, and an ageing population.

And while the competition is not related to the current coronavirus outbreak, some of the ideas are aimed at people living in isolation.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: ‘It is incredible to see how these young finalists have thought up innovations to tackle global challenges, from devices that detect health problems to robots which can remove plastic waste from our seas.

‘Technological innovation is important to grow the UK economy and we are supporting young people to pursue careers in this area through schemes like the Longitude Explorer Prize.’

The shortlisted teams will now get expert mentoring and receive resources to help develop their concept, ahead of a Dragon’s Den style pitch in July.

The winner will take the £25,000 prize and three runner- up teams will receive £10,000.





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