Sci­ence trip boosts stu­dent

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.

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