Teenager fly­ing high

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGY -

Tau­ranga’s Callum Rid­ding­ton has won the Bald­wins supreme award at Bright Sparks 2014 for his in­ven­tion, Kiwi Drones.

Kiwi Drones is a con­trol sys­tem for a work­ing drone. It in­cludes GPS mis­sion plot­ting, sta­bil­ity con­trol and a su­per-friendly user in­ter­face. Callum de­signed it all from scratch.

The 17-year-old Ote­mo­tai Col­lege stu­dent also hacked the code in an X-Box con­troller to use in Kiwi Drones, after de­cid­ing it was a more fa­mil­iar, user-friendly de­vice.

His in­spi­ra­tion came from a dis­sat­is­fac­tion with cur­rent drone con­trol sys­tems.

“I tried out ex­isit­ing f light con­trollers and dis­cov­ered they were ex­pen­sive and bulky. I didn’t like the func­tion­al­ity, so I cre­ated my own,” he said.

Bright Sparks man­ager Ross Petersen said Callum’s in­ven­tion stood out due to a high de­gree of com­plex­ity and its in­te­gra­tion of hard­ware and soft­ware.

“Callum’s en­try was in­cred­i­bly so­phis­ti­cated. He con­tin­ued to re­fine it and his at­ten­tion to de­tail was very im­pres­sive,” Petersen said.

“This fully func­tional project was cre­ated by a young in­ven­tor who strives for ex­cel­lence in ev­ery di­rec­tion.”

Callum says he of­ten meets up with his mates to f ly his drones and is al­ways look­ing for ways to im­prove the tech­nol­ogy.

He was pre­sented the Bright Sparks 2014 Bald­wins Supreme Award at a cer­e­mony in Auck­land on Oc­to­ber 30, hosted by Michelle Dick­in­son and at­tended by ed­u­ca­tors and in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He re­ceived a men­tor­ing pack­age from Bald­wins as part of his prize.

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