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The Warsaw Voice » Other » August 13, 2008
Education
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Student Inventors Bag Awards
August 13, 2008   
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Students from a technical high school in the south-central Polish city of Częstochowa regularly win awards at technology competitions at home and abroad, outperforming both young and adult inventors.

The Częstochowa school, Techniczne Zakłady Naukowe (TZN), boasts a long list of students who have received awards at various competitions for inventors.

The school's students have won a prize at the Intarg Economic and Scientific Innovation Fair in Katowice, southern Poland, and successfully participated in the Technicon-Innowacje Science, Technology and Innovation Fair in the coastal city of Gdańsk. They have been singled out for praise at Warsaw's Inventors Fair and the ITM Innovation-Technology-Machines Fair in the western city of Poznań.

TZN has also won awards abroad, at the Genius Europe Fair in Budapest, Hungary, and the Eureka World Exhibition of Innovation, Research and New Technologies in Brussels.

The school won a gold medal at the 2006 Eureka for an automatic light switch. Last year TZN's Tomasz Kaczmarzyk, a 17 year-old inventor whose main interest is in electronics, grabbed a bronze at the fair for his TeleSOS electronic system for summoning medical help.

Kaczmarzyk entered the Brussels fair after his TeleSOS system won the 2007 Young Inventor of the Year competition organized by the Eurobusiness Haller agency in Katowice.

Kaczmarzyk built his award-winning system under the guidance of TZN teacher Przemysław Błaszczyk. "TeleSOS was built in the 2006-2007 school year during after-school workshop activities," says Błaszczyk. "Tomasz did much of the work independently. Together we posed ourselves a challenge that we solved by linking several universally available mobile telephony components to produce an electronic system that is original in its design and use."

TeleSOS is a mobile, miniature system designed to summon emergency services. Its goal is to improve personal safety, above all of people who are ill, old or live on their own. It is simple to use and, despite being based on mobile telephony, does not require user knowledge of mobile phones, which is an added asset for older and infirm people. In an emergency, the user needs only to press a button on the handset, which can be hung around the neck, attached to a key ring or belt, or kept in a pocket. The TeleSOS system differs from other similar apparatus on the market in that it is mobile and does not rely on a fixed telephone line. It works in a similar way to its fixed-line counterparts but its mobility gives it an advantage.

The TeleSOS system comprises a wireless transmitter, a receiver and a dialer that automatically connects to emergency numbers saved in the memory. There is also a mobile telephone and an identifier that identifies the user who requires emergency help.

The system, powered by batteries, can be expanded to include a GPS transmitter to precisely locate the person calling for help. The GPS transmitter is particularly useful for people with Alzheimer's, for example, because they can be located without having to call for help themselves. This function increases the number of potential users of TeleSOS, Błaszczyk says. The system can be so configured that an ill person's carer can be summoned at the same time as emergency services. The apparatus can also hold data about the patient's illness and prescribed drugs. The development of the TeleSOS system and its application will depend on the needs of future users, Błaszczyk says.

All the TeleSOS components are based on microprocessors and can work in extreme conditions and on low voltage, thus using up little electricity, Błaszczyk says.

Ewa Dereń
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