Fostering creativity: Inside the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition


Pure unadulterated chaos. We thought we’d get used to it after the first time. But as we tried to avoid kids running around carrying gadgets, we realized that hadn’t. Yet amidst this chaos we found ourselves surrounded some impressive if not ambitious ideas. Here’s some of them we found inside the latest edition of the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition.

The simple boats and cars of plastic

As walked into the exhibition we saw a small tub of water. Inside this tub, we found boats made of plastic bottles and regifoam. Powered by 9-volt batteries and simple electric motors, these boats moved freely inside the tub. Some of them we spotted were even remote controlled.

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
The cars and boats we saw

And on the tables, we saw a bunch of cars as well. These ranged from self-driving cars that detected obstacles to simple ones made out of plastic, bottle caps, and old pens. One of the projects took it a step further building a fully working toy train with pencils, paper, and old Astra boxes.

Handheld Air Conditioners

IgniterSpace Young Innovators
One of the handheld air conditioners and fans

Take a Cargills vanilla ice cream tub and fill it up with some ice cubes. Then cut a small hole in front. Add a battery on top and connect it to a fan. Just like that one of the kids at Igniter Space had made a handheld air conditioner. We found another project that did the same but with a large lunchbox instead. Additionally, we also found a bunch of handheld fans to help stay cool on a hot.

The robotic arms of cardboard

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
The hydraulic robotic arms

At first glance, this project looked like something out of medieval siege warfare. This was an entire hydraulic robotic claw arm made out of cardboard. But what made this really impressive was how it was controlled. A series of syringes were filled with water with each one serving a purpose. Some moved the claw in place and one was used to grab objects.

The scratch games

We were first introduced to Scratch during the workshops at the Galle IT/BPM Week. And at the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition, we saw a few games built using it. The first one we saw was a game similar to Flappy Bird.

The goal of this first game was to simply guide a bird through a maze to its nest, while avoiding obstacles. The next game we saw built on Scratch was a mix of things. The first level was an arcade shooter. The second level combined an arcade shooter while directing another through a maze. And the final level was a race.

The flood sensor with a killer pitch

The next project we saw at the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition blew us away. The project itself was a simple flood sensor made using a syringe and a small ball. It was connected to a buzzer and powered by a 9-volt battery. As the water rose, the circuit was completed and the buzzer went off.

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
Ramithu with his affordable flood sensor

Yet what blew us away was the amazing pitch the 8-year-old behind this project gave us. He shared that he had originally checked the price of flood sensors on eBay. He was stunned and decided to build his own. And with a bright grin he proudly stated, “It costs less than Rs. 1000 to build!”

Coin sorting machine

The next project we found was a machine to sort coins. All that was required was simply put your coins in a tray. And then a motor vibrates the entire machine sending the coins down the slide. This slide had holes of varying sizes. Why? Because coins have different sizes. The coins fell through these holes and landed in trays, all sorted. Furthermore, there’s an IR sensor paired with an Arduino that keeps track of how many coins are in each tray.

The drone made of ice cream sticks

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
The drone of ice cream sticks

Dangling from the ceiling on a few pieces of thread, we found something peculiar. It was a small drone made out of ice cream sticks. The two sticks were glued together. At the ends of both sticks were propellers. In the middle was a small motor powering it using a 9-volt battery. When turned on, we learned that it would rise 5cm above the ground.

The simple security system

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
The simple security system we saw

Afterward, we saw a model demonstrating a simple security system. It worked by attaching a small strip of plastic the door. If this door was broken down, then the plastic strip would break as well. As it broke, the circuit would be completed. And in doing so, a buzzer was activated alerting anyone inside.

The rain detector

Afterward, we found a simple system to alert you if it rains. The model house we saw at the Igniter Space exhibition had a circuit board on the roof. When water was dropped on the circuit, an alarm would go off with bright lights and a loud buzzer.

A water gun

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
The water gun

Some kids buy toy guns but this kid at the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition made his own. He took a syringe, cardboard, duct tape, and a simple plastic tube. Utilizing a glue gun and a few scissors, he turned these materials into his own water gun.

The doorbell of touch

Finally, we saw a doorbell. As the name suggests, this was a doorbell that worked by touching it. There was no switch that you needed to hold down. As with the other projects, this too was constructed in a simple manner by setting up a circuit board and a buzzer.

The Rs. 300 mousetrap

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Workshop
The duo behind the mouse trap

This was a simple box made out of cardboard. Inside this box was an aluminum foil on which you could place the bait for the mouse. When the mouse jumps on the foil to take the bait, it would complete a circuit. This circuit powers a motor that releases a rubber band and drops the cage. Thus, trapping the mouse and allowing you to release it into the world.

The colorful pressure lights

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition project
The bright lights activated by pressure

The next project we saw at the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition was a colorful one. This project was an LED strip that lit up as you pressed your hand on a pressure pad. Like many of the other projects we saw, this too was powered by a simple 9-volt battery.

The electric crane made of Lego

What do you get when you combine a few pieces of Lego, a string, and a motor? You get an electric crane. This too was another project we saw at the IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition. This impressive crane made out logo could carry six tiny pieces in its bucket.

That’s not all

IgniterSpace Young Innovators Exhibition
Fancy magnifying glasses, vacuum cleaners, and more boats. Some of the other projects we saw

From self-driving cars to robotic arms to simple vehicles. Needless to say, the young minds inside IgniterSpace have produced some impressive ideas. And these weren’t all the ideas. We also saw vacuum cleaners, smart lighting systems, redesigned magnifying glasses, and so much more. Hopefully, as these kids graduate at the end of their 8-month course, their creativity will be nurtured and continuously encouraged as they grow up. If you want to know more about IgniterSpace and how to enroll kids into its programs, then click here.


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