Electronic Design

Micros Find Their Way Into Blue-Ribbon Science Fair Projects

Held last month in Atlanta, the Intel ISEF 2008 brought together more than 1500 students from around the world as they presented their award-winning projects from state and regional science fairs. Individuals and teams competed in more than 17 categories, including a healthy showing in the Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical (EE) division.

A number of students used development kits in their work. Chris King’s Electromagnetic Levitation: A Digital Control System used an Atmel ATMega microcontroller with a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC). The project also included a custom-built analog control system. King would like to improve his electromagnetic suspension system, but he needs a 16-bit ADC for better control.

A trio from W.J. Keenan High School in Columbia, S.C., presented On the Development and Construction of a Telepresence Amusement Park Ride. The project used a Parallax Basic Stamp with a MEMS accelerometer and a compass module that synchronized the movement of a person wearing a head-mounted video goggle system with a digital camera that delivered the video (Fig. 1). A fan provided the impression of movement.

Adam Halverson and Anthony Winterton from Garretson High School in Garretson, S.D., were in the second year of a multipart project named VSR-1: Talos (Fig. 2). This bipedal robot is currently controlled from a PC. Improved sensors and autonomous operation are in the long-term goals.

Even more impressive was the expertise these students bring to the fair. They spend a full day explaining their project to judges with noteworthy credentials, including some Nobel Prize winners. Natalie Saranga Omattage of Cleveland, Miss., Sana Raoof of Muttontown, N.Y., and Yi-Han Su of Chinese Taipei took home the $50,000 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award.

“To see young students from around the world develop innovative solutions to problems confronting society shows the true power of this international science fair,” said Intel Corporation Chairman Craig Barrett.


TAGS: Robotics Intel
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