‘Little Inventor’ from Belfast bags expenses paid trip to UAE

Rosa SM Farm

A nine-year-old girl from Belfast has impressed the science world so much that she has been invited to see her invention on display at the Sharjah Biennial Children’s Festival in the United Arab Emirates next week.

Rosa Holmes, a P6 pupil at Forge Integrated PS in south Belfast, was one of 180 pupils from six different schools who took part in the ‘Little Inventors: Home’ project – part of Belfast City Council’s wider (Y)Our Home initiative.

Working with the Nerve Belfast Creative Learning Centre, pupils were asked to come up with ideas for inventions on the theme and meaning of ‘home’, and what ‘home’ could mean for future generations.

Following the death of her grandmother, Rosa was inspired to create the ‘Memory-O-Matic’ – a machine that can detect emotions and project a picture of a person you love who has died – and her invention was one of eight designs that was chosen to be manufactured as prototypes.

Rosa said: “My main inspiration was my granny and grandad. My granny died not long before we were asked to make an invention, and I thought it would be nice to have a machine that can project a picture of the person you have loved, play a song that reminds you of happier times, or retell a story you would like to hear again.

“Also my granda has had a few strokes and he finds it hard to find things and remember appointments, and he gets confused – the Memory-O-Matic invention is an invention that can be programmed to remind you what appointments you have, where you’ve left your keys, or call someone if you need them.

“This would calm the person down and maybe ease some of their confusion, anxiety and frustration, which would allow people who are sad, have dementia or have had strokes, to live independently for longer and they would be happier.”

So impressive was Rosa’s invention, that it has been selected to be exhibited at the Sharjah Biennial Children’s Festival in the UAE next week, alongside other creations from Little Inventors across the world.

Barry Brennan, Programme Coordinator at the Nerve Belfast Creative Learning Centre, said: “The inventions are a fantastic showcase of the talent, creativity and imagination of the ‘little inventors’ who were able to invent practical solutions to address some of the problems and challenges that they, or those around them, encounter in their daily lives.

“It was fantastic to work with these entrepreneurial young people to turn eight into real prototypes, from over 180 fantastical, funny and perfectly practical ideas submitted.

“We’re delighted that Rosa has been invited to showcase her prototype and represent her school and Northern Ireland on the international stage. We can’t wait to hear all about her adventures when she returns.”

Rosa’s teacher, Gillian Wood, said the entire school was very proud of Rosa and her invention. She added: “This is really exciting for Rosa and her family; to be heading to the UAE on an all-expenses-paid trip is a once in a lifetime experience, and we can’t wait to hear all about Rosa’s visit.

“Little Inventors was a brilliant project for the school to be involved in as it tapped in to the STEM part of our curriculum and it was a great way to get the children engaged and see their ideas come to life.”

Belfast City Council’s (Y)Our Home projects were established to empower citizens, including children and young people, with their own sense of creativity and self-confidence.

Belfast Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey congratulated Rosa on her achievement: “Rosa is a real credit to her family and her school, who are rightly very proud of her success; as the only pupil from Belfast to be selected, this is a remarkable achievement.

“I am always so impressed by our young minds – their creativity and innovation is a real inspiration, and I think Rosa is destined for a very bright future, perhaps even as an inventor. I hope she has a wonderful time in Sharjah.”

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