BTYSTE 2018 day 1: Positive thinking about robots, nature and lawnmowers

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2018 (BTYSTE 2o18) kicked off today (Wednesday 10 January) with the energy and pace we have all become accustomed to and humbled by.

This is BT’s 18th year organising the event, which is an all-Ireland affair with more than 383 schools from across the island taking part. This year more than 200 volunteers from BT’s ranks are helping to keep the show running smoothly.

The annual event in Dublin’s RDS began as a science fair in the Mansion House in 1963 and has gone from strength to strength every year.

Now in its 54th year, more than 2,031 ideas were submitted out of which 550 projects qualified. Some 60pc of the participating students are female.

An army of 82 esteemed judges from the science and technology world will evaluate all of the projects before a winner is announced on Friday night (12 January).

Every day for the next three days will speak to some of the students about their projects.

Day 1: A constellation of good ideas

On day one we spoke to Jack Kennedy, Coláiste Mhuire Co-Ed, Co Tipperary, whose entry in the Social & Behavioural Sciences category ‘Analysing the effect on first-year students’ positivity using a programme called Three Good Things’. His project was inspired by the deputy headmaster’s idea of getting kids to write down three good things that happened to them every day in their journal to boost wellness and confidence.

Shay Barrett, Nathan Rogers and Seán Nolan from Scoil Chonglais, Co Wicklow described their project in the Technology category ‘SON Multisystem Console’, which involved the use of Lego Technic Mechanisms and Minstorm Robotics to model engineering projects and develop problem-solving skills that are key to STEM subjects.

Nikola Tarczalowicz, Oliwier Krawzcyk and Sean Cahalane from Clonakilty Community College, Co Cork brought together of multiple video games systems into one single machine based on a Raspberry Pi electronics board.

‘No Mower Accidents’ was the catchy title of a project by Hazel Reynolds, Aisling Dwyer and Kiara Healy from Millstreet Community School, Co Cork, that involved placing a proximity sensor on lawnmowers that shut the machine down if a person came too close.

Megan Freeney, Sarah Hennessy and Eah O’Gorman from St Mary’s Secondary School in Newport, Co Tipperary did some vital research into a matter that impacts the whole planet – the survival of the bees. Their project ‘An investigation into the effect of different materials on bee health used sensors to monitor beehive conditions based on wood and polystyrene used to build modern hives.

We also spoke Amy Keenan and Rosaleen Keehan from Mercy College, Co Sligo who along with Molly Budd, asked the question ‘Can birds predict the weather?’ They were able to prove that yes, indeed, birds can detect weather changes by studying their eating habits.

Stay tuned over the next few days for more video reports of the stellar constellation of wonderful science projects from students from all over Ireland.

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