Teenager's big idea for 'nerdy world'

GEORGINA STYLIANOU
Last updated 16:02 28/01/2013
big idea landscape
Simon Baker

BIG IDEA: Harry Loughnan (centre) with the two other finalists, Judy Yun (left) and Grace Lethbridge (right).

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An international arena for technology whizzes to enjoy the world of robotics and gaming may be on the cards for Christchurch. 

The concept is the idea of Harry Loughnan, 17, who has today been announced the winner of the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology Foundation's Big Idea competition. 

Loughnan's idea was among 700 entries that saw people under 25 come up with an idea to transform the city into a vibrant, youthful place.

He has received $5000, as well as the opportunity to turn his vision into reality. 

Foundation chairman Carl Pascoe said Loughnan's idea ''ticked all the boxes''. 

''It's unique, it encourages practical skills in science, technology and it could potentially put Christchurch on the world stage,'' he said. 

The foundation would seek interest from organisations, individual investors and corporations to get behind Loughnan's idea.

Loughnan, who finished his studies at Linwood College last year, said the robotics arena would draw crowds and competitors from around the workd and transform Christchurch into New Zealand's gaming capital. 

"Robotics is an awesome sport which is growing at a phenomenal rate,'' he said. ''With an arena specifically designed for robotics competitions, the sport can only get better.''  

He entered the Big Idea to give more people the ''opportunity to get involved in this nerdy world''. 

Last year, a New Zealand robotics team won the Vex Robotics World Championships in the United States for the fourth time running, he said. 

The annual competition attracts more than 10,000 intermediate, high school and university students and teachers from more than 20 countries.

Loughnan presented his Big Idea to the judging panel last week.

As one of three finalists, he was competing against 12-year old Judy Yun and 15-year old Grace Lethbridge.

Judy entered the idea of a creative area where young artists could display their art work, perform on a free stage and where food from international cultures could be sold at a youth market. 

Grace wanted Canterbury artists to design large art sculptures with solar panels to power parts of the city and offer free wi-fi.

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- The Press

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