Follow BT Regions

Fort Hill students shortlisted for BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition

Press release   •   Nov 08, 2017 16:39 GMT

Jamie Martin and Ben Halligan will present their ‘Hamster Power’ prototype wheel, which they designed to generate a new form of renewable energy.

Two students from Fort Hill College in Lisburn are celebrating after receiving the news that they have been shortlisted as finalists of the 2018 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) and will take part in the exhibition in January 2018, marking the 54th year of the renowned educational event.

Ben Halligan and Jamie Martin will present their ‘Hamster Power’ prototype wheel, which they designed to generate a new form of renewable energy – powered by pets.

Ben says he was watching his hamster in its wheel when he came up with the idea:

“I was sitting at home, trying to think of a project for the competition.Whilst I was wondering how we could generate power without creating pollution, the hamster was turning his wheel.That’s when it came to me.

“Jamie and I attached a generator and turners to a new wheel and connected a small LED light to see if the hamster could power it.

“Unfortunately, this prototype is too heavy for the hamster to turn but we have proved that the wheel can power the light, by turning it with our hands.The next stage of development will be to create a lighter wheel for the hamster to turn.”

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition will take place from 10th – 13th January 2018 at the RDS in Dublin.In all, 21 projects have been shortlisted from 13 schools in Northern Ireland.

Ben’s project partner, Jamie, says he’s looking forward to seeing the hundreds of projects on show from schools north and south of the border:

“Textbooks are one thing, but seeing your own invention take shape is something else.I have a strong interest in science and know that Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects are so important when it comes to getting a job.Technology is an important part of all our lives.”

The exhibition is one of the largest and longest running STEM events in the world, and challenges students to imagine a big idea and bring it to life through research and development in a practical way, outside the classroom.

Garret Kavanagh, acting Managing Director of NI Networks, says:

“BT is proud to announce the participants who have qualified for the 2018 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.As a leading technology company, we know how important it is to foster student’s interest in STEM subjects in every school in Northern Ireland to ensure that we have the necessary skills to move forward as a society.

“Once again, the standard of entries has been extremely high, making the judges’ job more difficult than ever. Over the coming weeks, the finalists will be working hard to complete and present their projects and we can’t wait to see their extraordinary achievements on show in January.”

Fort Hill Science teacher, Stephen McCormick, has big hopes for his school’s participating duo:

“Fort Hill took part in BTYSTE for the first time last year.We want to show how good our science department is and we’ve been encouraging students to take part to increase their interest and participation in STEM subjects.

“Some students need more encouragement than others but I have to say that Ben and Jamie are real self-starters.They came up with their project idea during the summer holidays and arrived back at school with their prototype hamster power wheel.They make an impressive team and the school is very proud of them.”

“The BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition helps open the participants’ eyes to all sorts of possibilities.They get an idea of what a career in science could be like.”

For more information on the exhibition and for details on how to enter, log onto or follow BTYSTE on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat (username: BTYSTE).