Rugby School student wins top engineering prize with ingenious holiday website inspired by grandparents

She created the website and the algorithm that runs it

Kaede Sugano.

A Rugby School student has won the top prize in an engineering competition after her grandparents inspired her to create an ingenious holiday website.

Kaede Sugano, a Year 12 student was crowned GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year for her project, ‘RIHLA’.

Inspired by her grandparents trying to find a perfect holiday for their 50th wedding anniversary, Kaede developed a website, which compares package holidays and suggests the one that best meets a traveller’s needs, using an algorithm she created.

Users rate tourist spots using three different criteria – sentiment, novelty and physical ability - and the app takes the traveller’s preference and package holiday profile using the algorithm to measure the similarity between them.

With this service, travellers would be able to easily find a tour with which they are satisfied without having to compare tours themselves.

Kaede said: “Currently, people all over the world are unable to travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic but, hopefully soon, we will be free to travel again.

"My dream is that my website will be helpful for people when this happens.

"I am very happy to receive this award, and it gives me the courage to continue my efforts to solve social problems with technology.

"I would also like to thank my teachers at school for teaching me the fun of mathematics, physics, and computing.”

Kaede’s project was one of 200 submitted to this year’s Big Bang Competition, an annual contest designed to recognise and reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), as well as helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

The awards were announced at Big Bang Digital: Redefine the future, a three-day, digital event aimed at 11 to 14 year olds, packed full of inspiring and interactive sessions designed to open young people's eyes to future developments they could be part of.

Previous winners have gone on to enjoy a range of other achievements on the back of their successes – including, getting backing from businesses for their projects, setting up their own businesses, taking part in conference presentations to industry professionals as well as appearing on the television and radio shows to talk about their projects.

Dr Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK, which organises The Big Bang Competition, said: “There is no denying that students have had to deal with a lot of disruption to their learning in recent months, and the quality of this year’s entries is a testament to their talent, dedication and creativity under these difficult circumstances.

"It's particularly exciting to offer huge congratulations to Kaede on International Women in Engineering Day, whose innovative project has seen her crowned GSK UK Young Engineer of the Year 2021.

“At a time when we could all use a big dose of optimism for the future, the inventiveness and skill we’ve seen this year’s Big Bang Competition has been a reassuring and inspiring tonic for all those involved in the judging – so we’d like to extend a huge congratulations and heartfelt thank you to everyone who participated.”

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