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Coolest Projects 2021: young people’s journeys & special judges’ favourites

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Wow, we haven’t stopped smiling since yesterday’s live Coolest Projects celebration! Hosts Maddie Moate and Greg Foot led us through a live online event jam-packed with stories from participants, cool tech creations, and inspiring messages from our special judges. AND they revealed whose projects the judges picked as their favourites from among all of this year’s projects — congrats to the favourites’ creators, and to everyone who has participated in Coolest Projects online 2021!

1385 young tech creators from 47 countries are part of this year’s Coolest Projects online, and they have shared 1168 wonderful projects with the world in the showcase gallery! For yesterday’s celebration live stream, the whole Coolest Projects community came together to applaud all the creators for their dedication, creativity, and love for making things with tech.

So which projects did the special judges choose as their favourites from among all these amazing creations? Here are this year’s favourites, and why the judges have chosen them!

Coolest Projects 2021 special judges Colin Furze, James Whelton, Melissa Pickering, and Fig O'Reilly.

Colin Furze’s favourites

Colin Furze is a British YouTube personality, presenter, inventor, and five-time Guinness world record holder from Lincolnshire, England. See all his favourites:

Colin Furze's favourite projects from the Coolest Projects online showcase 2021.
  • Vivien, from the USA, with the Hardware project A Consumer IoT Seismometer for Earthquake Early Warning. Why Colin chose this: “An impressive project”
  • Yusuf and Ömer Faruk, from Turkey, with the Unity-based Game project Science Fighter. Why Colin chose this project: “The idea behind Science Fighter is magical”
  • Clara, Hannah, and Alondra, from a CoderDojo in the USA, with the Web project Zoom Chat: New and Improved. Why Colin chose this project: “The simplicity of this is fantastic”
  • Muntadar, from a CoderDojo in Iraq, with the Scratch project Math Race. Why Colin chose this project: “A great little game”
  • Dillon, from a CoderDojo in Ireland, with the Mobile App project Safe Circle. Why Colin chose this: “A brilliant and complete project”
  • Nathaniel, from the USA, with the Advanced Programming project Using Machine Learning To Mind Control A Flamethrower. Why Colin chose this project: “Alan Pan would be proud”

Melissa Pickering’s favourites

Melissa Pickering is Head of Product at LEGO Education, leading a cross-functional team to design and develop learning through play experiences for kids globally. See all her favourites:

Melissa Pickering's favourite projects from the Coolest Projects online showcase 2021.
  • Lavie, from the USA, with the Hardware project Playable Lego Steinway Piano. Why Melissa chose this project: “A true engineer’s journey”
  • Niamh, from a CoderDojo in Ireland, with the VR-based Game project Escape the Maze. Why Melissa chose this project: “Super skill-building”
  • Theo, from a Code Club in the UK, with the Web project Bookwriggle. Why Melissa chose this project: “Excellent approach”
  • Patrick Elliot, from Indonesia, with the Scratch project Rocket Game. Why Melissa chose this project: “Simply fun”
  • Yuvati, from India, with the Mobile App project Hospito. Why Melissa chose this project: “So timely and relevant”
  • Arvin, from the USA, with the Advanced Programming project A Deep Learning Based Backyard Squirrel Detection System Utilizing Raspberry Pi. Why Melissa chose this project: “A fantastic way to apply statistics and data science”

Fig O’Reilly’s  favourites

Fionnghuala O’Reilly is an Irish-American model, beauty pageant titleholder, engineer, and NASA Datanaut. Fig is a passionate advocate for women and diversity in STEM subjects. See all her favourites:

Fig O'Reilly's favourite projects from the Coolest Projects online showcase 2021.
  • Sonali, Lina, and Samiksha, from a Code Club in India, with the Hardware project, Anti-touching face cap for COVID-19. Why Fig chose this project: “Very timely (and fashionable!)”
  • Colvin, from the USA, with the Minecraft-based Game project Coolest Minecraft Mod. Why Fig chose this project: “A lot of attention to detail”
  • Anna and Harry, from the UK, with the Web project Pen and paper puzzles. Why Fig chose this project: “Because of the skill used on the front end and back end of the site”
  • Althafazrais, from Indonesia, with the Scratch project Mars Rover Simulator. Why Fig chose this project: “Informative and fun”
  • Kayleigh and Kaitlyn, from Ireland, with the Mobile App project Give Me That ENERGY!. Why Fig chose this project: “Built for the creators’ community”
  • Pradnyan, from a Code Club in India, with the Advanced Programming project Gaze Controlled Keyboard. Why Fig chose this project: “An innovative solution”

James Whelton’s  favourites

James Whelton is a coder, entrepreneur, and co-founder of CoderDojo. At 16, James gained worldwide recognition for discovering a hack for the iPod Nano. See all his favourites:

James Whelton's favourite projects from the Coolest Projects online showcase 2021.
  • Jayanth, from the United Arab Emirates, with the Hardware project, MediBuddy. Why James chose this project: “Great project overview”
  • Agustín, Joaquín, Lucero, Lucía, and Luis Salvador, from Peru, with the Python-based Game project Think Twice. Why James chose this project: “Very thoughtful”
  • Xiomara, from a CoderDojo in Mexico, with the Web project Accenture Dojo VideoLife. Why James chose this project: “You have a lot of skill”
  • Bhavishyaa, from Canada, with the Scratch project Earth OS. Why James chose this project: “Very sophisticated”
  • Shunsuke, from a CoderDojo in Japan, with the Mobile App project Birds AI Peep-chan. Why James chose this project: “Super cool idea and personal story”
  • Artur, from Poland, with the Advanced Programming project Friction experiments made easy. Why James chose this project: “Great combination of technologies”

Sponsors’ favourites

Coolest Projects wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors, and because they love this global tech showcase and admire all the participants, they’ve chosen their favourite projects too!

Demonstration of 'Cap for the blind', a Coolest Projects entry chosen as a favourite by Broadcom Foundation.
Archit’s ‘Cap for the blind’ project uses Raspberry Pi!

Discover more than 1000 projects

You can explore all the young tech creators’ projects — games, hardware builds, Scratch projects, mobile apps, websites, and more — in our showcase gallery now.

The support of our Coolest Projects sponsors has enabled us to make this year’s online showcase the inspiring experience it is for the young people taking part. We want to say a big thank you to all of them!

Coolest Projects online showcase 2021 sponsors: BNY Mellon, Broadcom Foundation, Liberty Global, EPAM, Facebook, LogMeIn, Genesys, PayPal, Twitter, Sage Foundation.

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Colin Furze is among our special Coolest Projects judges

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Young tech creators from more than 40 countries have already registered to take part in this year’s Coolest Projects online showcase! To help us celebrate this year’s wonderful group of participants, we’re lucky to have brought on board Colin Furze, Melissa Pickering, James Whelton, and Fig O’Reilly as special judges.

“Since the first Coolest Projects in 2012, I’ve been continually inspired seeing thousands of young creators sharing their projects with the world. Building websites, apps, games, and hardware around something they’re passionate about, solving problems they face or just doing something cool, year on year Coolest Projects shows the magic of technology.”

James Whelton

Meet the coolest judges!

Colin Furze is a British YouTube personality, presenter, inventor, and five-time Guinness world record holder from Lincolnshire, England. Colin’s YouTube channel has over 10 million subscribers. Colin left school at 16 to become a plumber, a trade which he pursued until joining the Sky1 TV programme Gadget Geeks. He has used his engineering experience to build many unconventional contraptions, including a homemade hoverbike, a jet-powered bicycle made with pulsejet engines, and the world’s fastest dodgem vehicle for Top Gear. Colin has completed three Star Wars–themed challenges in partnership with eBay: in 2016, he completed a giant AT-AT garden playhouse, followed in 2017 by a full-size Kylo Ren Tie Silencer. In 2019 he completed a moving Landspeeder from Star Wars: A New Hope; the vehicle was auctioned off on eBay, with all of the funds going to BBC Children in Need.

Colin Furze, special judge for Coolest Projects
Colin Furze, YouTuber, inventor, and five-time Guinness world record holder

Melissa Pickering is Head of Product at LEGO Education, leading a cross-functional team to design and develop learning through play experiences for kids globally. She has worked in the field of interactive kids’ products for 15 years, from innovating theme parks as a Disney Imagineer to founding an edtech startup. In her six-year LEGO career she has built up and led design teams to innovate LEGO products through digital experiences, with a key focus of using technology to inspire hands-on play.

Melissa Pickering, Coolest Projects special judge
Melissa Pickering, Head of Product at LEGO Education

Fionnghuala O’Reilly is an Irish-American model, beauty pageant titleholder, and engineer. The 27-year-old recently made history as the first woman of colour to represent Ireland at the international Miss Universe pageant. Since getting her degree in Systems Engineering from the George Washington University, O’Reilly, who goes by Fig, has gone on to become a NASA Datanaut, working within the agency’s Open Innovation programme comprised of engineers and scientists who engage with NASA’s open data to create new thinking, processes and products. Fig has joined the two-time Emmy-nominated science television series Mission Unstoppable as the newest correspondent. She is also the founder and CEO of Reach Productions which is the host of NASA’s Space Apps Challenge in Washington DC. In 2020, Fig was named an Ambassador for Engineers Ireland, Ireland’s leading governing body for professional engineers. Fig is a passionate advocate for women and diversity in STEM subjects.

Fig O'Reilly, special judge for Coolest Projects
Fig O’Reilly, beauty pageant titleholder, engineer, and CEO

James Whelton is a coder, entrepreneur, and co-founder of CoderDojo. At 16, James gained worldwide recognition for discovering a hack for the iPod Nano. In response to the lack of opportunities to learn computing at school, he co-founded CoderDojo in 2011, a global community of code clubs for young people where they can learn to build websites, apps and games, and explore technology in an informal, creative, and social environment. James has developed apps and systems with over a million users around the world. He is currently developing an online platform that helps its users achieve their personal goals and build healthier, happier habits and behaviours.

James Whelton, special judge for Coolest Projects
James Whelton, coder, entrepreneur, and co-founder of CoderDojo

Register a project today

These four fabulous people will choose their favourites from among all of this year’s projects — a unique honour that the young tech creator in your life could receive if they take part! We hope this will be a big boost of motivation for them to register their project for the Coolest Projects showcase before the 3 May deadline.

We’ll be announcing the special judges’ favourite projects as part of our big live-streamed Coolest Projects celebration on 8 June!

A girl presenting a digital making project at a Coolest Projects event

Everyone up to age 18 can register for Coolest Projects, and we welcome all projects, all experience levels, and all kinds of projects, made with any programming language or any hardware. Through Coolest Projects, young people are able to show the world something they’ve made with tech that they love, and the projects are as diverse as the participants!

Discover all the support we offer young people to help them create something with tech that they will be proud of.

The showcase gallery is open for you already

You can explore the projects of the young tech creators who’ve already registered if you visit the Coolest Projects online showcase gallery! Which one is your favourite project so far?

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How your young people can create with tech for Coolest Projects 2021

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In our free Coolest Projects online showcase, we invite a worldwide community of young people to come together and celebrate what they’ve built with technology. For this year’s showcase, we’ve already got young tech creators from more than 35 countries registered, including from India, Ireland, UK, USA, Australia, Serbia, Japan, and Syria!

Two siblings presenting their digital making project at a Coolest Projects showcase

Register to become part of the global Coolest Projects community

Everyone up to age 18 can register for Coolest Projects to become part of this community with their own tech creation. We welcome all projects, all experience levels, and all kinds of projects, from the very first Scratch animation to a robot with machine learning capacity! The beauty of Coolest Projects is in the diversity of what the young tech creators make.

Young people can register projects in six categories: Hardware, Scratch, Mobile Apps, Websites, Games, and Advanced Programming. Projects need to be fully registered by Monday 3 May 2021, but they don’t need to be finished then — at Coolest Projects we celebrate works in progress just as much as finished creations!

To learn more about the registration process, watch the video below or read our guide on how to register.

Our Coolest Projects support for young people and you

Here are the different ways we’re supporting your young people — and you — with project creation!

Online resources for designing and creating projects

Download the free Coolest Projects workbook that walks young people through the whole creation process, from finding a topic or problem they want to address, to idea brainstorming, to testing their project:

The five steps you will carry out when creating a tech project: 1 Pick a problem. 2 Who are you helping with your project? 3 Generate ideas. 4 Design and build. 5 Test and tweak
Our Coolest Projects worksheets have detailed guidance about all five steps of project creation.

Explore more than 200 free, step-by-step project guides for learning coding and digital making skills that your young people can use to find help and inspiration! For more ideas on what your young people can make for Coolest Projects, have a look around last year’s online showcase gallery.

Live streams for young people

This Wednesday 3 March at 19:00 GMT / 14:00 ET, young people can join a special Digital Making at Home live stream about capturing ideas for projects. We’ll share practical tips and inspiration to help them get started with building a Coolest Projects creation:

On Tuesday 23 March, 16:00 GMT / 11:00 ET, young people can join the Coolest Projects team on a live stream to talk to them about all things Coolest Projects and ask all their questions! Subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on notifications to be reminded about this live stream.

Online workshops for educators & parents

Join our free online workshops where you as an educator or parent can learn how to best support young people to take part:

Celebrating young people’s creativity

Getting creative with technology is truly empowering for young people, and anything your young people want to create will be celebrated by us and the whole Coolest Projects community. We’re so excited to see their projects, and we can’t wait to celebrate all together at our big live stream celebration event in June! Don’t let your young people miss their chance to be part of the fun.

Register your project for the Coolest Projects online showcase

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Idea registration is open for Coolest Project 2021

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It’s official: idea registration is finally open for Coolest Project 2021!

Our Coolest Projects online showcase brings together a worldwide community of young people who make things with technology. Everyone up to age 18, wherever they are in the world, can register for Coolest Projects to become part of this community with their own tech creation! We welcome all ideas, all experience levels, and all kinds of projects.

So let all the young people in your family, school, or coding club know, because Coolest Projects is their chance to be part of something amazing this year!

Taking part is free, and projects will be displayed in the Coolest Projects online gallery for people all across the globe to see! And getting involved is super easy: young creators can start by registering their idea for a project now, leaving them plenty of time — until May — to build the project at home.

To celebrate the passion, effort, and creativity of all the tech creators, we will host a grand live-streamed finale event in June, where our fabulous, world-renowned judges will pick their favourites from among all the projects!

Last year, young tech creators from 39 countries took part in the Coolest Projects online showcase. This year, we hope young people from even more places will share their tech creations with the world!

Skill-building, fun & community

Coolest Projects is a powerful motivator for young people to develop skills in:

  • Idea generation
  • Project design and planning
  • Coding and technology
  • User testing and iteration
  • Presentation

…and they will have lots of fun, be inspired by their peers, and feel like they are part of a truly international community.

Let their imaginations run free! 

Through the Coolest Projects online showcase, young people get the opportunity to explore their creativity and realise their tech ambitions! Whatever they come up with as a project idea, we want them to register so the Coolest Projects community can celebrate it.

To help you support young people to create their projects, we’re running a free online workshop called ‘How to design projects with young people’ on 24 February.

What happens next? 

  1. Once their project ideas are registered, the young people can start creating their projects!
  2. From the start of March, they will be able to complete their registration by adding the details of their project, including either a Scratch project link or a short video where they need to answer three important questions about their project. We’ll be offering online sessions to give them tips for their video and help them complete their showcase gallery entry.
  3. Project registration closes on 3 May. But don’t worry if a project isn’t finished by then: we welcome works in progress just as much as completed creations!

We can’t wait to see the wonderful, imaginative things young tech creators in this global community are going to share with the world!

Sign up for the Coolest Projects newsletter to never miss the latest updates about our exciting online showcase, including the free online support sessions for participants.

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Super cool favourites picked by fabulous judges

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We’re delighted to announce that our special judges — Eben Upton, Hayaatun Sillem, Limor Fried, Mitch Resnick, and Tim Peake — have chosen their favourite projects from the Coolest Projects online showcase! 

Young tech creators from 39 countries are part of the showcase, including from Ireland, Australia, Palestine, UK, USA, India, and Indonesia. In total, you’ll find an incredible 560 projects from 775 young creators in the showcase gallery.

Our judges have been amazed and inspired by all the young creators’ projects, and they want to highlight a few as their favourites!

Eben Upton’s favourites

Eben Upton is a founder of our organisation, one of the inventors of the Raspberry Pi computer, and CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading. Watch Eben’s favourites.

  • Haya: Bobby ‘A Platformer’
  • Kaushal: Diabetic Retinopathy Detector
  • Zaahra, Eesa: Easy Sylheti
  • Mahmoud: Fighting Against Coronavirus

  • Oisín: MiniGolf In Python
  • Fiona: TeenBeo
  • Artash, Arushi: The Masked Scales: The Sonification of the Impact

Hayaatun Sillem’s favourites projects

Dr Hayaatun Sillem is the CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, which brings together the UK’s leading engineers and technologists to promote engineering excellence for the benefit of society. Watch Hayaatun’s favourites.

  • Radu Matei: Agartha Lore. Rebellion
  • Momoka: AI Trash Can
  • Kian: Cellular Ecosystem: Life in a Petri Dish

  • Sama, Sam, Taima, Nouran, Rama: Five Feet Apart
  • Tucker: Rivers.run
  • Cyrus: School Student ePortal

Limor ‘Ladyada’ Fried’s favourites

Limor Fried is an MIT-trained engineer and the founder and owner of Adafruit Industries. Watch Limor’s favourites.

  • Sara, Batool, Rahaf, Nancy: Children Body Language
  • Lars: Colourbird PicoBello
  • Alisa, Michelle: Green Coins
  • Niamh: MineBlower

  • Marah: My School Website
  • Raluca: Protect the Planet!
  • Rhea: The Amazing Photo Filter
A girl presenting a digital making project

Mitch Resnick’s favourites

Mitch Resnick is Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab, and his Lifelong Kindergarten research group develops and supports the Scratch programming software and online community! Watch Mitch’s favourites.

  • Oisín, Naoise: AUTISTICALLY AWESOME
  • Elana, Saibh: Exploring Schools
  • Mark: Mark’s Coronavirus Game
  • Ardash: Raspberry Pi–Based, Low-Cost Contactless Vital Signs Monitor
  • Matteo, Massimo, Jacopo: Sheetcheat.xyz
  • Cathal: Ukelectric
A Coolest Projects participant

Tim Peake’s favourites

Tim Peake is a British ESA astronaut who spent 186 days in space on the International Space Station. He’s also a passionate advocate for STEM education. Watch Tim’s favourites.

  • Abhiy: Burglar Buster
  • Carlos, Blanca, Mario: El ojo que te observa (The All-seeing Eye)
  • Zoe: Find It
  • Oluwadabera Jedidiah: Galaxy
  • Patrick: Pear Pad – Have Fun with Apps
  • Hala, Ranwa: Help Me to Learn

Discover over 500 projects

You can explore all the young tech creators’ projects — games, hardware builds, Scratch projects, mobile apps, and more — in our showcase gallery now.

This year’s Coolest Projects online showcase wouldn’t be possible without the support of our Coolest Projects sponsors — thank you!

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Coolest Projects goes online and everyone is welcome!

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We’re thrilled that Coolest Projects is taking place this summer as an online showcase, and registration opens today!

A girl presenting a digital making project

Our world-leading technology fair usually takes place as a free face-to-face event, with thousands of young people coming together to showcase projects they’ve created. After making the tough decision to cancel the Coolest Projects 2020 events in Dublin and Manchester, we began building a solution that would allow us to host our tech showcase for young people online this year.

A boy presenting his digital making project

As so many young people are currently at home all over the world, we wanted to create an online space where they can share their tech projects, be inspired by their peers, and celebrate each other’s achievements as a community.

A chance to be creative and have fun

Coolest Projects is a great opportunity for young people to get creative, have fun, learn from others, and be a part of something truly special.

A girl presenting a digital making project

To get involved in Coolest Projects, all that young people need is an idea that involves tech, and the enthusiasm to bring it to life. If they’re looking for inspiration, they can explore our Digital Making at Home series of free, weekly code-along videos and step-by-step project guides. We’ve also got support for parents who want to learn more about the tools and programs their children could use to create a tech project.

We invite all creators and all project types!

Coolest Projects is open to anyone up to the age of 18, and young people can join wherever they are in the world. Creators at all levels of experience are encouraged, with projects from beginner to advanced, and it doesn’t matter whether the project is a work in progress, a prototype, or a finished product — every participant and every project are welcome!

A young person at a laptop

Young creators get to share their ideas with the world

All submitted projects will be showcased for the whole world to see in the new Coolest Projects online gallery, so that we can all celebrate the effort, enthusiasm, and creativity of young people who have turned an idea into reality using tech.

A boy working on a Raspberry Pi robot buggy

In the online gallery, you’ll be able to filter projects and explore at your leisure. We’ve enlisted some special judges to help us pick out favourites!

Why do young people take part in Coolest Projects?

Estela Liobikaitė from Strokestown, Co. Roscommon in Ireland took part in Coolest Projects International last year. She began coding at school with her teacher, Ms Gilleran, and developed a love for animation. Estela talks about the possibilities coding gives young people:

“I like coding because it is very entertaining to play to learn about technology. Coding gives a person many opportunities and possibilities.”

A teenage girl presenting a digital making project on a tablet

Estela at Coolest Projects International 2019

Sofia and Mihai, both aged 9, also took part in Coolest Projects International 2019. They travelled to the Dublin event from Slatina in Romania, where they attend a Code Club in their community. Sofia and Mihai both love animals and created their project, Friendship Saves Endangered Species, to raise awareness about the fragile ecosystem.

A girl and a boy holding up a book about coding

Sofia and Mihai at Coolest Projects 2019

Their advice for other young people thinking of getting involved in Coolest Projects is: “Follow your dream, put your ideas into practice, because Coolest Projects is a great opportunity!”

Get involved with Coolest Projects

If you know a young person who has made a digital creation, then encourage them to register it for Coolest Projects, be it an animation, website, game, app, robot, or anything else they’ve built with technology. Projects can be registered in the following categories: Hardware; Scratch; Mobile Apps; Websites; Games; Advanced Programming.

To register a project or find out more about taking part, visit coolestprojects.org. Registration closes on 28 June 2020.

 

PS This year’s Coolest Projects online showcase wouldn’t be possible without the support of our sponsors — thank you!

Platinum sponsors

Facebook, BNY Mellon, Liberty Global, Blizzard Entertainment, EPAM

Gold sponsors

Workday, Twitter

SME and community supporter

PayPal

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