Six students from St Ninian’s High School in Douglas beat hundreds of European teams to take home first place for the Junior Achievement ‘Innovation of the Year’ award, at the GEN-E European finals in Istanbul.
The team of students created a company called Mindcore.
The company – consisting of James Drummond, Hudson Sayle, Matthew Hughes, Aaron Matthews, Dominik Stawny and Siddharth Muthu Pandian – had already won the Isle of Man Junior Achievement Company Programme earlier in the year, which led to it competing in Istanbul.
The product that won these students the European prize for innovation was an artificial intelligence app called ERA: Easy Reading Assistant.
The mobile app provides people who struggle with a range of visual impairments additional support while reading and the initial drive behind creating ERA stemmed from the students’ aspiration to assist fellow students with dyslexia.
Features of this app include an inbuilt dictionary, text-to-speech software, help uploading PDF files, adjustable font styles and background colours as well as additional components.
The chief executive of Junior Achievement Isle of Man, Sue Cook, said: ‘Mindcore has developed a product that will help so many people struggling with reading difficulties.’
She went on to describe the software as a ‘potentially life-changing programme.’
The group of students has been featured in the British Dyslexia Association’s (BDA) newsletter, which commended Mindcore’s achievement of previously winning the Isle of Man Student Company of the Year and firmly advocated for the app.
The Manx Dyslexia Association suggested that this support from the BDA was indispensable to their chance of success in Istanbul.
Hundreds of Manx students were involved in the Isle of Man Junior Achievement competition, which increased to hundreds of thousands that competed in the European Championships in Turkey.
Sue Cook watched Mindcore compete in Istanbul.
She said: ‘Their professionalism, passion and commitment shone through. Watching this group of students from St Ninian’s High School collect this award is a pivotal moment in my 14-year journey as the chief executive of Junior Achievement.’
Mindcore’s Easy Reading Assistant (ERA) software programme is available to download on any iPhone for free.