SPAIN: Students compete with innovative ideas for dealing with pandemic
Students from 19 vocational training centers competed in 34th edition of the Don Bosco National Award
(MissionNewswire) Thirty projects from 19 vocational training centers across nine autonomous communities throughout Spain were showcased in the 34th edition of the Don Bosco National Award. More than 2,000 students have competed in these awards over the last 30 years. Due to the pandemic, the awards ceremony took place online, offering a virtual exhibition where watchers could visit each project and see prototypes, as well as contact the authors.
Each year, the number of companies and organizations involved has grown. Most business leaders see the competition as an incubator for talent and interesting projects. Many of the projects this year focused on innovation for dealing with the pandemic, including self-disinfecting outdoor furniture, a COVID-19 alarm network and an air quality meter.
“Participating in this competition stimulates the innovative skills of students and teachers, making them aware of the importance of research and the possibilities that they have to contribute to improving society,” said Dr. Merche López, director of the Salesian school in Zaragoza. “Every year there are important companies that reach agreements with young researchers to make their prototypes.”
For example, the family booth project gave a second life to telephone booths, transforming them into a technological point that gives access to new technologies for the elderly. The author of the project noted, “Our loved ones are isolated because of the health situation we live in or because they are far away and cannot travel. Our project aims to humanize technological communications.”
The clean air systems project created a disease transmission control installation designed for schools, which could also be applicable to workplaces or any other public building. The system makes it possible to have control access based on body temperature, control of space capacity, ventilation, hydrogel distributors and masks.
To ensure the quality of the air in an enclosed space, COncentra2 proposed measurement of CO2 concentration levels in the air. The novelty of this project is the use of different meters, made with a CO2 sensor based on Arduino programming.
The self-disinfecting furniture project focused on automatically disinfecting street furniture, thus increasing the control of public spaces and reducing the work of cleaning staff. Other projects highlighted innovations in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, renewable energy and augmented reality to contribute to the improvement of society.
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential, technical and vocational training programs. Although teachers are available to start providing distance learning again in the event of a new lockdown, the importance of face-to-face education is emphasized in Salesian schools.
Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain face inequality in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.
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Salesian Missions – Spain
World Bank – Spain