Date: Friday, 08 July 2011

An article by Keith O'Connor, Yr 12.

On Friday the 24th of June 6 young lads did not appear on the day’s roll, instead they where destined for the east coast to attend a technology competition held by the Otago university for high school students in the area. In Dunedin it took a while to find the building we were meant to be in despite cruising around in the vicinity for a tense ten minutes, but with the steering wheel in the capable hands of Robyn Young we were soon back on track.

With a fashionably postponed arrival we were soon seated in a computer lab and listened to lecturers from the university talk about various technologies used in information science with a brief description of their uses. Soon enough we found our-selves presented with a challenge, a challenge to solve a problem, any problem and solve it using the technologies just described. With a  deadline to organise a 2 minute presentation on our solution by the end of the day, we realised we’d have to act fast… after many hours of contemplation and some inspiration from YouTube movies on ‘conning’ and a few rounds of ‘pixlander’ both SPC groups had the basis of their problem and solution. A discussion was held over lunch in-between mouthfuls of pizza where ideas were finalised, making our way back to the commerce building filled with enthusiasm and lunch we were prepared for battle. In a frantic rush both groups put together their presentations, making power points, researching facts and statistics as well as putting together a speech that would explain our use of current technology to solve our problem.

After 8 groups SPC group 1 (Team Nigeria) made their way to the front and delivered a presentation on the “Media Drone” – a replacement for media helicopters with low running costs and few limitations that uses Ardunio microcontrollers, gyroscopes and computer programming to follow transponders located on media targets such as a cyclist in a race while feeding back live coverage over a wireless net work.

SPC 2, also with a creative name- “Slap Attack”, soon followed with their solution to noisy drum kits with the “Awkward Silence”, which uses electronics to track a person’s movements in space as if they were playing the drums. Position and speed of the player’s movements give off the appropriate drum sound in the player’s headset, without the need for a single drum or complaint from anyone nearby.

Neither group was awarded a placing but we were not fazed by this minor setback, we had a good day anyway, besides - we were only there for the pizza! In actual fact we had fantastic day, learning loads, having fun and again – eating lunch… and all this is thanks to Robyn Young who kindly donated her time to drive us there and back.

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