Young inventors take to the air

The Young Inventors Program at Sunshine Beach State School had another successful excursion to the Peregian Beach Digital Hub. This term’s focus is on robotics, and this field trip was based around unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). While many people think of drones as just flying cameras or even toys, their uses go far beyond consumer applications and construction, conservation, disaster relief and remote sensing.

To get that message across to the students, the day started with an hour long presentation by Dr Javier Leon, senior lecturer at USC (University of the Sunshine Coast) and a geographer interested in the study and management of coastal systems in the current changing climate and sea-level rise context. The material covered was the same as as that taught to university students. Both students and teachers were fascinated by Dr Leon’s research and his use of drones for monitoring and 3D visualisation of our very own local beaches, as well as Fraser Island and the Barrier Reef. Dr Leon also went on to explain ‘the 3D’s for drones stand for dull, dirty and dangerous and that’s what they are best used for. Drones save people having to be in unsafe environments, or where it’s inaccessible.’ Dr Leon said the kids were “a dream for any educator”.

The workshop ended with a friendly competition consisting of a fairly complex flight path which required the students to apply not only what they learnt during the previous challenges, but also some of the theory covered during the year, such as trigonometry and the use of the number Pi.

This excursion had the students enthralled from start to finish and they eagerly await for the next exciting workshop.