HUNDREDS of schoolchildren put their technological skills under the microscope this week.

Over 350 students from 50 different schools across the county made their way to IBM Hursley for the 18th annual Blue Fusion and Bright Sparks events.

In a series of one-day projects, on March 14 and 17-20, 14 to 15 year old pupils participated in a number of activities designed to show the possibilities of engineering and technology.

The days are organised by IBM volunteers, and activities included logical thinking and problem solving, a virtual town-building exercise, environmental impact exercises, and robot and space station creation.

Schoolchildren from Sholing Technology College, St Mary’s College, Regents Park Community College, Upper Shirley High, Testwood Sports College and Hampshire Collegiate School were among those that took part.

IBM Hursley is the largest software development laboratory in Europe, and plays host to a range of programmes to engage school-aged children in Science, Maths, Technology and Engineering, including XploreIT and Try Science days for primary school pupils.

Hugh Proudman, IBM Program Director for Information Management Development, said: "I find it enormously rewarding to work alongside the organising team, and see them create activities that truly engage and inspire students. Every year, the students that attend have great fun and extend their understanding of Science and Engineering."