TWO pupils of Cransley School have been named as finalists in a national technology competition.

Year eight students Amelie Bett and Rachel Hansford reached the final stage of the Longitude Explorer Prize after designing a robot which provides support and aid for those struggling with anxiety and autism.

This robot will be someone to converse with and will be there 24 hours a day, using technology to sense when a panic attack, anxiety attack or an autistic ‘meltdown’ episode will commence.

If one is sensed, the robot named RoboAid will give its owner support throughout as well as calling a programmed emergency contact number.

The prize itself calls on young people to invent tech solutions to some of the big challenges of our time, such as climate change, pollution and an ageing population, and the winning team is awarded £25,000 for their school or youth group.

Finalists will receive resources and expert mentoring to help develop their concept ahead of a Dragons’ Den-style pitch in July to win the Longitude Explorer Prize, while three runner-up teams will each receive £10,000.

Out of more than 800 young people who entered game-changing innovations, Amelie and Rachel have made the final 40, much to the delight of their school.

“Cransley School is thrilled to announce that our two amazing year eight pupils Amelie and Rachel are finalists for the Nesta Challenges Longitude Explorer Prize,” said science teacher Emily Whitton.

“Together in their science class, they created a plan to design an artificial intelligence device, RoboAid, which is a robot friend that provides support and aid for those struggling with anxiety and autism.

“The two girls will now get to work with a mentor to enable them to turn their idea into reality.

“We are so incredibly proud of them both and their desire to help others.

“They truly are a credit to us and exemplify the values of our wonderful school.”

They will be up against other creations including a robot fish that collects plastic from oceans, a t-shirt that detects heart problems, a bin that automatically sorts rubbish for recyclables and an AI system to monitor and reduce traffic in busy city centres.

Speaking about the prize as a whole, government science minister Amanda Solloway said: “It is incredible to see how these young finalists have thought up innovations to tackle global challenges.

“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.”

Another aim of the Longitude Explorer Prize is to promote STEM - science, technology, engineering and maths - as an exciting career path for all genders, with only 21 per cent of patent applications featuring a named woman.

Girls including Amelie and Rachel account for more than half (55 per cent) of all applicants to the prize this year.

The 40 finalist teams will now be mentored and supported to develop their ideas, produce designs and prototypes and prepare their pitches for the finals in July.