Designing a self-righting buoy or packaging for emergency medical supplies to be dropped by parachute are just two of the projects which have engaged the minds of young people in the north-east through Durham University's Input scheme.
Aimed at instilling in young people an interest in applied science and technology, it presents technical problems which stretch the imagination and challenge teachers in ways which would not normally be possible within the constraints of a school timetable.
A three-way co-operation between the university, and industry and schools in the region, it is based on a course which includes hands-on project work on a real engineering problem, team work, oral presentation, video recording and the use of foreign language skills for students across an age range of nine to 19.
Although the course for students is the most obvious, it is paralleled by one for teachers who help the university's Input team and frequently find that their expectations of what can be achieved with young people is raised.
Input has had a significant impact in the north-east, where the target of 25 per cent of students taking part at some time in their school career is likely to be reached by 1996. This success is beginning to spread to other parts of the country.