- I spoke briefly with one of the students behind the overall winning project and I was very impressed with how pleasant and down to earth he was. He managed to explain a complex project in simple and easy to understand terms. He also told me about his career plans and those of his partner - I have no doubt that they will achieve all of them.
I think this is an idea with a lot of potential and the student involved was very eloquent and well able to explain the merits of his system. Here he is pictured with his model car demonstrating the system.
- Another project which was inspired by last years unusually cold weather was "Smart Pipe – An Automated Water Circulation Anti-Freezing System". This project implemented a system to stop pipes bursting during periods of freezing weather. The system they built had a motor to circulate the water within the houses plumbing system, this motor was automatically turned on when the temperature dropped below freezing point and this was effectively a less wasteful version of the old trick of leaving a tap running when freezing weather is expected. This trick is only effective when the water is slightly below its freezing point and so when the temperature dropped further the system automatically diverted water from the hot water tank into the cold water system. Since the cold water was already circulating the small amount of hot water added was dispersed and brought the overall temperature of the water only slightly above freezing.
- The winners of the IBM award were two students from Tipperary who had developed a database of recordings of health and diseased horse hearts. They combined their database with an existing pattern recognition system so that vets can now submit a sample heartbeat recording from one of the horses under care and the application will tell them what heart disease (if any) the horse is suffering from. Read more about their project here.
- The project "iCollapse:A mobile phone application for assisting those who are liable to collapse" should have won the prize for the most catchy project name is one was being given out. It also had a very clever and useful application - it uses the accelerometer and sensors in someone's iPhone to detect when the person had collapsed and then it will automatically contact a carer to come check on them. This is clearly an idea with great potential and I hope the student involves goes on to make it generally available.
- Another ambitious technology project was the student who developed the FreeFlowApp web site combining formal traffic reports with people tweeting about traffic issues on the twitter platform. I know from experience that this is a simple concept, but very difficult to implement in practice. At the exhibition the student had a working version of the web site - not only could I see him demonstrate it himself, but I was also able to access it myself on my phone. Unfortunately the site does not seem to be active anymore.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
My personal highlights from the BTYSTE exhibition
While at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition last week, I had an informal wander around the exhibition hall and this is some of the exhibits that stood out for me. I did not have time to visit all projects so it possible that I missed some wonderful projects. I won't cover the Primary Science fair because I reviewed it earlier.