SatelLife competition winners

Four teenagers from Newquay, Cornwall, have won the UK Space Agency’s SatelLife 2019 group prize.

Now in its third year, the SatelLife competition aims to encourage young people to think about how satellites impact our everyday lives and learn more about the careers available in the sector.

Judd Phillips, 15, Calvin Hulance, 14, Matthew Old, 14, and Joel Armstrong, 14, came up with an innovative idea to use satellite data to help tourists and people with medical conditions find public toilets when travelling.

Reserving a public toilet

The app, called Satoilite, will allow people to track public toilets and rate them. The service also allows those in urgent need to reserve the toilet. Such as those with hidden disabilities such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Satoilite app

Judd, Calvin, Matthew and Joel spoke to BBC Breakfast about their mobile phone app idea.

"The project is an app that will display a map with the public toilets marked on. If you have a disability you can reserve a toilet but if you don't, you can find one," said Calvin.

Judd said:

We have aimed the app at people with Crohn's disease but also the general public, especially those with young children.

The app will use standard GPS for general navigation meaning it will work offline and you would not need an internet connection whilst travelling.

The boys have also considered motorised locks on toilets. This means that users who are allowed to reserve toilets will be able to lock the toilet before they get there and unlock it when they arrive.

British Astronaut, Major Tim Peake, congratulated the boys for their app idea.

Your app for finding a public loo is brilliant. As a father of two young children, I know when you need to find a loo it is really important so well done.

The school boys, who won £7,500 for their idea, will now have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a selection of industry experts, with a chance to gain key support that could help them turn their ideas into a reality.

In previous years this has led to job offers, extra funding and support to build prototypes.

Science minister, Chris Skidmore, said:

These extraordinary ideas on how to use space technology for everyday problems are a testament to the inventiveness of our brilliant young people.

 

Chief Executive of Bowel & Cancer Research Deborah Gilbert said, "For sufferers of all bowel conditions, getting access to the nearest toilet can be a stressful and sensitive issue. It's great to see that they have such insight for people with with invisible disabilities like Crohn's.

"Congratulations to the boys on their innovative project and we wish them the best of luck in the next round."