Adventist school students win state competition

Some of the students with their project.

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A group of Year 6 students from Kempsey Adventist School (KAS), NSW, have taken out first place in the state final of the Young ICT Explorers Competition, held at the University of New South Wales last Sunday.

Competing against nearly 30 other NSW independent and public schools, KAS students Bodhi, Brayden, Nicholas, Adam, Amelia and Vasilis managed to edge out their competitors with their innovative and exciting project. Entitled “Trail Blazers”, the students created a real world solution to a problem that troubles Rural Fire Service (RFS) fighters across the state. Using a drone fitted with an ultrasonic sensor, GPS Module, and camera, they proved that they could inspect fire trails and ensure they are clear of obstacles such as fallen trees. The ultrasonic sensor is programmed to register distance and report those results, essentially giving the drone depth perception.

The winning group, with teachers from the school.

“The children can set the drone on a flight path and when it identifies an object that’s not supposed to be on the trail, it takes a photo and captures its GPS location so that field crews can be scheduled to clear the obstacle,” said KAS Primary Deputy Principal Vanessa Baywood. “The RFS are really excited about the technology, they want us to take it further.”

The students also collaborated with the Research & Development team at the Commonwealth Bank, as well as the University of Technology (UTS) in Sydney, to further explore the concept of using an EEG (electroencephalography) machine, which maps the electrical activity of the brain, to enable the efficient analysis of a large volume of data, and shortlist the pictures that require closer examination.

The students each received a cash prize for their efforts, and a trophy to be placed in the school’s new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) building, due to open in the next few months.

The Young ICT Explorers Competition encourages students to develop a technology related project of their choice, applying what they have learned in their ICT/Digital Technologies classes. In December, the KAS students will present their “Trail Blazer” project at the national finals.

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