Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 15:01 UK

Wiltshire student wins at California science fair

James Popper
The device detects saucepan fires without setting off false alarms

A teenage engineer has scooped several awards at US science fair for a device which could be used to save lives.

The design of James Popper, 18, from Wiltshire, detects kitchen fires without setting off false alarms.

He was inspired to develop the device after an elderly friend with dementia had a devastating kitchen fire.

About 1,600 students took part in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose last week.

The CookerSmart design detects the infrared in flames, reducing the likelihood of false alarms.

The Marlborough College student won accolades including the best of category award for Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, and an invitation to the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar.

It sees 25 of the world's best young scientists and engineers meet during the Nobel Prize ceremonies.

He also came first in the US Government Patent and Trademark Office Society Award and was the winner of the United Technologies Corporation Prize.

Big Bang

James received cash awards, two scholarships, company shares and a grant for his school.

Simon Brookes
Simon Brookes's design helps stop thieves from stealing diesel

He told the BBC the device was targeted at people with disabilities and had been evaluated by Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.

"I've had quite a bit of interest," he said.

"I've been able to establish a device that can help save lives and win these fantastic awards."

James was joined by fellow student Simon Brookes, 18, from Balcarras School in Gloucestershire, who presented his design which helps stop thieves from stealing diesel from parked lorries.

The pair represented UK young engineers after winning awards in the Big Bang Fair, which was held in Manchester in March.

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