Sunday 22 September 2019

WATCH: Sensor bins, solar panels and floating homes... Tech-genius kids invent solutions to climate change

Hot topic for the tech-genius kids at world-renowned 'Coolest Projects' exhibition 

Mícheál Ó Scannáil

The solution to climate change was a hot topic today as nearly 1000 young coders travelled to Dublin for the world’s leading technology exhibition for young people.

Young tech creators from over 20 countries presented their inventions at Coolest Projects International 2019, as over 5,000 people were in attendance to see what the future technological minds of the world had to offer.

The event, in the RDS, saw projects range from assistive technology for people with disabilities, to sci-fi video games and GPS enabled mountaineering websites, but the strongest prominence was among projects focusing on combating climate change.

Ireland’s answer to Greta Thunberg, Michael (11), designed a solar panel that tracks the movement of the sun, maximising the energy generation of the panel.

"My project is a solar panel that tracks the sun when the sun is out and about. It has two separate motors and it tracks it," Michael said.

"It will generate more energy, but you’re going to have to use some of that to power the motors. I calculated around 15pc to 20pc profit power compared to an ordinary one, which is quite a lot because it means if you have two solar panels on your house you could generate up to 40pc more power.

"Then that means you wouldn’t have to pay an electricity bill and you could use that to heat water and everything.

"Your house could be running itself. If someone important saw this, they could see that it’s actually quite cheap so that means people will start to invest in it and the world will change for the better."

Other projects include a bin that uses an ultrasonic sensor to monitor waste, games that navigate the world to discover the effects of climate change and teach children about pollution, deforestation and famine and an automatic plant watering device.

The brain behind the latter, Daniel Lane, said that his project could help in countries where growing plants is more difficult than in our temperate climate.

"It’s all about a plant watering device," he said.

“It has soil sensors in it and when the soil moisture level gets too low, it will water your plants for you. It can help with growing plants more easily in countries where it’s not so easy.

"I was looking for idea and I saw something that when you press the button, it waters the plant so I thought I’d go one better and make an automatic watering device."

If, in the unfortunate event that the future work of those present at the coding event and other environmentalists fails, Nikhil (13) designed a game to help people learn how to colonise Mars.

Perhaps less drastic, Alessio (8) and Ilario (15) from Italy’s project uses recycled bottles to create floating "modules" in which people can live in the case of rising sea levels.

Ilario said that their project would help the refugees of land lost to the sea.

"It’s a new type of modular society and it’s all managed by two turbines and it’s based on the re-use of plastic bottles which are in the ocean," she said.

"It’s all based on recycling. We had some problems, like all the projects have but it was amazing to come up with this idea. The project can change the world.

"We have already done a full size module that is 5m by 5m. It could really help the earth because it’s all based on the re-use of plastic bottle and it could really help some nations."

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