A STUDENT from Colchester has won the Young Engineer of the Year award.

Ranita Ariyibi, 15, who goes to Colchester County High School for Girls, scooped the top prize for her invention of a device which enables deaf people to communicate more easily.

InterSign acts as an electronic interpreter between British Sign Language and English, meaning it can see a sign and then give the meaning in both spoken and written English.

Similar to smart speakers, like Alexa, the groundbreaking device has the additional advantage of being able to take action.

For example, signing ‘help’ could trigger the device to call emergency services or a family member.

Accepting her award, Ranita said: “It’s absolutely crazy, I never imagined that I’d be here today.

“It’s been such a long process and I’m so grateful for this opportunity and to have won this award. I think having the showcase of all the competitors at The Big Bang Fair is really inspiring, seeing how young people can do amazing things.”

Gazette: Winner - Ranita Ariyibi with showcasing her InterSign projectWinner - Ranita Ariyibi with showcasing her InterSign project (Image: Newsquest)

The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition allows young people aged 11 to 19 across the UK to showcase their skills and creativity.

Participants have the opportunity to build confidence, teamwork skills, and problem-solving abilities, whilst also receiving expert feedback on their projects.

The competition is open to students in state-funded education, as well as home-educated individuals and those participating in community groups.

Dr Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK, which runs The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition, said: “Huge congratulations to Ranita on her UK Young Engineer of the Year award.

“She has worked incredibly hard on her InterSign project, trying different approaches and coding solutions to create a device that does what she set out to achieve.

“The judges were really impressed with her creative ideas, problem-solving and determination, all important elements in engineering.

“I look forward to seeing how InterSign develops and what Ranita does in the future.”