Stu­dents de­sign and de­velop a smart sen­sor for Sony UK Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre


Sony com­mis­sioned a team of stu­dents from Cynf­fig Com­pre­hen­sive to con­sider the op­por­tu­ni­ties around col­lect­ing and in­ter­pret­ing ‘Big Data’.

The project was part of the En­gi­neer­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Scheme Wales (EESW) sixth-form ac­tiv­ity. A team of four 16 and 17 year-old stu­dents were se­lected to work with Sony UK Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre, Pen­coed.

The team was led by Richard Daniel, teacher at Cynf­fig Com­pre­hen­sive and sup­ported by Jes­sica Leigh Jones, an en­gi­neer at Sony.

The stu­dents first met with Jes­sica in Septem­ber 2016. They were told about In­dus­try 4.0 and how au­to­ma­tion and data ex­change can be used to cre­ate a ‘smart fac­tory’.

Data can be used to pre­dict ma­chine fail­ure and optimise pro­cesses. Jes­sica asked the stu­dents to con­sider how they might cre­ate a smart sen­sor which could record en­vi­ron­men­tal data in and around the Rasp­berry Pi man­u­fac­tur­ing line in Sony, Pen­coed.

The stu­dents were then given the op­por­tu­nity to visit the fac­tory and see first­hand the Rasp­berry Pi be­ing man­u­fac­tured.

Jes­sica was keen to draw the stu­dents’ at­ten­tion to a par­tic­u­lar part of the process, the sol­der bath, which is the source of a con­sid­er­able amount of process vari­abil­ity.

The team was set a strict bud­get and pro­vided with a Rasp­berry Pi.

Af­ter con­duct­ing some ini­tial re­search, the stu­dents de­cided to utilise a Rasp­berry Pi Sense Hat to record a range of en­vi­ron­men­tal data from the sol­der bath.

They were able to re­fine their pro­to­type with the sup­port of Swansea Univer­sity, dur­ing a three-day EESW prac­ti­cal work­shop held ear­lier this year.

The team pre­sented its find­ings to Sony and pre­pared a project re­port in prepa­ra­tion for the Big Bang Fair at the Lib­erty Sta­dium in April.

Af­ter a gru­elling round of judg­ing by the as­ses­sors, the Cynf­fig Com­pre­hen­sive team was de­lighted to win a place in the Na­tional Big Bang fi­nal.

The team en­joyed tak­ing part in the project with Sony and is look­ing for­ward to com­pet­ing at the na­tional Big Bang.

One of the stu­dents summed up their ex­pe­ri­ence: “The team re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated the op­por­tu­nity to take part in this chal­lenge with Sony. We all re­ally got a taste of what it would be like to pur­sue a STEM ca­reer in the fu­ture.”

First Min­is­ter, Car­wyn Jones, talks to the team from Cynf­fig Com­pre­hen­sive

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