Science trip boosts student
Matamata’s Dan Collins, 18, was selected as one of the participants in the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2011 event.
Realise the Dream is a prestigious National Science and Technology Awards Competition.
The event is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand and sponsored by Genesis Energy.
Dan was selected for his selfstabilising quad rotor helicopter.
Over the past week, he has been immersed in a road trip visiting scientific research institutions together with 18 other students.
The tour began near Auckland visiting the Leigh Marine Institute, and concluded at NIWA in Wellington.
Dan said his favourite part of the trip would have to be the great friendships he made with the other students in the group.
‘‘It was awesome to be surrounded by other like-minded students. An opportunity not present at school,’’ he said.
Dan lives in Matamata, and has just finished his last year at Aquinas College in Tauranga. He plans to attend Waikato University to study Electronic Engineering and Computer Science.
Dan’s project was an attempt at an exciting learning experience.
A self-stabilising flying platform was chosen because it was ‘‘Something cool I always wanted to try’’.
His project included selecting the components to make up the hardware and writing the software to calculate the thrust needed by each motor to keep the platform stable.
On top of that, the device is con- trolled using a smartphone such as the iphone or an Android- based device.
‘‘It was a year-long project where I learned not only some programming skills, but also the mathematics required to keep such a platform in the air,’’ he said.
More information on Dan’s project, along with the other participants projects, can be found on the Realise the Dream website, realisethedream. org.nz/participant-projects.htm.
Dan did not walk away with a prize, but said he had an amazing week surrounded by like-minded people.