YOUNG scientists had a chance to inspect cutting-edge technology up close at Begbroke Science Park’s annual innovation showcase.

Forty-six pupils from three Oxfordshire schools visited the park last week and had a chance to tour the labs and see ‘robot cars’ in development first hand.

After the workshops, the youngsters were challenged to come up with their own inventions and compete for the Innovation Award.

Among those taking part was Lauren Giles, 13, a pupil at Wallingford School.

She said: “The highlight of the tour was learning about the robotic cars.

“It was very interesting and looks like a good subject to get into.

“Britain’s scientists are doing a lot of important things for industry and are helping companies all over the world.”

Pupils from Kingham Hill School won the Innovation Award with their Solar Combat Jacket, a jacket with flexible fibre optic solar cells in the fabric that generate electricity.

Will Fosdike, chemistry teacher at Wallingford School, said: “The children see classroom science as very one dimensional.

“Events like the Innovation Showcase allow them to see that it has a wide range of career applications, from engineering to marketing and developing products.

“The children were shown cameras costing more money than their house. This was science fiction to them before today.”