The world is always so focused on Silicon Valley as the tech hub of the world and many countries aspire to be like them. Some people worry that Australia is being left behind and we’ll be a nation of redundant miners in the near future however today we can assure you that this is not going to be the case.
EFTM Lifestyle Editor, Geoff Quattromani attended the Young ICT Explorers event in Sydney today as one of many judges. Young ICT Explorers is a programme that runs across Australia bringing students from primary and secondary schools to compete with technology based projects. The Sydney event brought together over 200 students (the majority being female!) from 32 schools. We had the category for years 5 and 6. Yes, 11 and 12 year olds. We were blown away. Here are some examples:
Fire Monitoring Drone
These three kids have done a few things here. They’ve 3D printed and built (from parts) a flying drone. They’ve then planned on adding a thermal camera on the drone which will beam temperatures from bush fires to a website, enabling fire departments to fully understand what they are dealing with.
A Vest with Eyes
This team of three found that the cost of guide dogs with training etc exceed $30,000 each. There had to be a better way to help the blind move freely. Using a micro computer with distance sensors powered by batteries they have been able to create technology built into a piece of clothing that will emit a sound before you walk into that wall. The sensors measure the distance within 3 meters of the wearer and sound alerts at 1 meter. This is a working product, tested and now with plans on a summer range…
Child Tour Guides, for Children
Seeing a gap in the market is the space where innovation lives. These wonderful girls go on holidays with their parents and their parents read about where to go and what to do. The kids are often seen as people who will just tag along. But what if the kids could do research on what to do, where to go, what to eat and how to get there? Sydney4Kids was developed just for that. Restaurants, events and Google Maps integration are all on the website and the team is continually adding more to the website.
The Internet Connected Washing Line
The internet of things is a wonderful place to live. This dynamic duo used all the sensors in the book to produce something remarkable. Here is the story, the kids put clothes in the washing basket, they then go online and add the items to the website. Mum receives an SMS saying there is now some dirty laundry. The website has calculated the time it takes to dry these items and compares it to the the weather tomorrow, it includes this insight into the SMS. Mum does the washing and hangs it on the washing line. The pegged clothes intercepts a laser beam, this triggers the washing line to know clothes are hanging. A freak moment of rain arrives. Detected by the rain sensor, connected to a micro computer, this triggers a motor that winds the washing undercover. When the sensor is dry due to the rain stopping, motor sends the clothes back out to dry. Seriously. 11 year olds did this.
This is a mere example of the huge amount of entries that were presented today. The most impressive part of today was the story behind each project. The ideation process. These students were solving real world problems that they identified. The courage and charisma from the students is energising. It is extremely exciting to see what kids so young are able to dream and achieve and it completely reassured me that Australia’s technology industry is well and truly alive.