Sunday, January 12, 2014

Report on BT Young Scientist & TechnologyExhibition 2014 #BTYSTE

I spent so long queueing to have my book signed by Chris Hadfield that I had very little time to view the projects. However, I did mainly concentrate on the Technology section and there were a few projects which caught my eye:

  • Gearduino - this project was effectively an automatic transmission system for bikes. It used sensors on the pedals and an Arduino based controller to determine when the gears should be shifted either up or down  (hence the project name).
    The student who did this project told me that he has filed a patent application and once this is granted he will approach bike manufacturers to see if they are interested in bringing it to the market. As a regular cyclist I can easily how this could be a best seller.
  • Another cycling related project was Bike Radar - I didn't get a chance to speak to the students responsible for this project, but it seems that they developed a warning system for cyclists to alert them to the fact that cars are potentially on course to collide with them. It sounds like a great idea and is similar to the collision avoidance system which are currently available on high end cars.
  • A very useful project was Gum shield communication device for players and managers. This project won the overall runner-up prize for developing a wireless communication device which could be embedded into a gum shield and would allow players to receive messages from the manager during the game. It seems to operate by generating vibrations in the gum shield which are then perceived by the player as sound waves. I can see this being used in several different sports.
  • The entologic project developed a system which would tanalyse a program and turn it into a normal English explaination of what the program did. This should be useful for non-programmers who wished to understand what the program was doing.
  • A similar project was Easy shell which developed a system for transforming a set of instructions written in normal English into a bash shell script which could be executed. I didn't get a chance to try it out, but the idea is definitely interesting.
  • Last but not least I was interested to see New Method for Card Counting in Blackjack - this project developed an improvement on the classical method of counting cards to improve the odds in a game of BlackJack. This project clearly has commercial potential. One of the students told me that his father has promised to invest in sending him to Las Vegas on a practical trial of the algorithm once he reaches the legal minimum age for gambling.

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