Blogs

Incredible individuals collide with amazing innovations in this blog created to inspire and motivate you to action!

Meet geekStarter’s 2018-2019 High-School and Middle-School Teams

We are excited to welcome our 2018-2019 middle-school and high-school teams and wish them good luck on their projects!

  • RSports – Father Patrick Mercredi HS – Fort McMurray

This returning team is working on several projects with their local community: a) A football tackle robot to reduce player injury and collect data to inform coaching ; b) A bear robot decoy to train protection dogs at oil sand sites; c) Using underwater drones to monitor invasive species in waterways; d) Using drones to create 3D images from above for media and emergency services; e) Using robotics to animate stage props for a local theater production.

The girls on the robotics team at Father Mercredi HS in Fort McMurray

  • Lethbridge High School iGEM – Lethbridge

This returning team based at University of Lethbridge will start recruiting new members and launch its 2019 iGEM activities soon. The goal of their 2018 iGEM project was the removal of heavy metal contaminants from tailings ponds and wastewater using synthetic biology. 

  • United Robotics of Lacombe – Lacombe Composite HS – Lacombe

This new team plans to build a robotic dog to scare birds and animals away from gardens and farm land.

  • Notre Dame Collegiate Synthetic Biology – High River

This returning team will continue to work on their synthetic biology solution for breaking down fatty buildup in sewage pipes, while developing their skills and training their new team members. The team has recently hosted a Parents Night Synthetic Biology Celebration.

Team members teach girl guides wet lab skills

Student team members deliver What is Syn Bio Seminar

The team also hosted the High River Girls Guides as part of their science badge, and taught them about bacteria and synthetic biology. The students used the Amino Labs Canvas Kit to paint with bacteria and immortalized their work using the Amino Labs Keep-It Kit so that they could take them home.

  • Robots by Olots – Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy – Canmore

This returning team will continue to work on a solution for tagging and sorting out plastics at recycling facilities with a focus on the robotics component.

  • Patriots Robotics – Lester B Pearson High School – Calgary

This new team plans to build a robotics platform to assist with forest fire management.

  • Ted Harrison School: Design Thinking Team – Calgary

This returning team will continue to work on designing and building a litter picker robot for public spaces e.g park or school yard.

  • Queen Elizabeth HS Robotics – Edmonton

This new team plans to build a robotic device to help people with mobility issues.

Spotlight on geekStarters: Robert Mayall

Spotlight on geekStarters: Robert Mayall

Robert Mayall is a dedicated member of the geekStarter community, mentor to Notre Dame Collegiate team, and co-founder at FREDsense Technologies. In this photo, he provides feedback to teams at geekStarter’s 2017 High School Jamboree in High River.

10 Quick Questions for Robert

    1. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

I am a scientist and entrepreneur interested in combining technologies to create new products and solutions.

    1. What do you love the most about your work/school?

I love being able to work at FREDsense because there’s a team of incredible people working together to solve problems that affect people’s lives.

  1. What is your best accomplishment so far?

My proudest accomplishment so far has been seeing the FREDsense technology grow from an idea into a product that we can actually hold and have tested with partners around the world.

  1. What is something you are working towards right now?

I’m working on finishing up my PhD right now so that I can focus full time on FREDsense.

  1. How do you like to spend your downtime?

I like to spend time relaxing by cooking spicy meals, working on my car or trying my hand at woodworking projects.

  1. What is something you can’t imagine your life without?

I couldn’t imagine my life without my phone, as it plans my entire life.

  1. What is one thing that people will be surprised to hear about you?

Just how much I love spicy food. I may have a bit of a problem…

  1. What is something you are afraid of?

I’m always afraid that my latest idea will be my last, even though that hasn’t been right yet!

  1. What would you like your work to be ten years from now?

I’d like to be working on “out-there” scientific concepts like how to merge proteins and cells with computer hardware.

  1. What is one thing you appreciate about geekStarter?

The chance to work with students who are excited and interested in what kind of cool things they can do with science and technology.

Spotlight on geekStarters: Innovations Club at Ross Sheppard High School

Spotlight on geekStarters: Innovations Club at Ross Sheppard High School

Flight mission – Photo of Ross Sheppard team members taken by their FPV drone

Check out this recent interview with the robotics team from Ross Sheppard High School in Edmonton, and learn about their plans for the 2017-18 season and beyond.
• What is unique about your team? Any memorable moments?

We have the freedom to be creative and build hands on electronic projects.

A recent memorable moment: During our recent open house, we were showing off some of our drones. One of our team members tested the speed of one of the drones by flying it as fast as he could towards a teacher’s stomach. Important side note: The teacher was willing and prepared for the test! Unfortunately, the tester had forgotten to change one of the settings and the drone didn’t stop. Instead, it bounced off the teacher’s stomach and then the wall, returning to its flight in the hallway unscathed!! There was a crowd of parents and prospective students watching and they all thought it was part of the act!! It all turned out very funny and very dramatic!

• How would you describe your team’s project in 3 sentences or less?

We utilize 3D printing and open source materials, such as instructions, code and 3D printing files, to build and program self driving racing cars, drones, and rockets with self deploying parachutes.

• What has been one highlight of working on your project so far?

Capturing aerial footage using our drone.

 What is your team’s biggest challenge?

Troubleshooting code! Our self driving cars, and the ball following car didn’t work right away. The open source code needed to be de-bugged before it worked. Once the self driving car is operational, we will continue to modify the code and make it faster and able to avoid opponents on the race track. Having the perseverance to keep de-bugging using trial and error with code is time consuming and frustrating!

• What is your team’s favourite fun activity? What’s something your team does to bond?

We have begun a fun competition within the club – Actually, two: 1. Indoor drone racing, and 2. FPV (first person view) Raspberry pi car race and obstacle course. This is just a fun competition, but we are going to keep track of points and continually update the league tables. It will also hone our skills. Eventually we plan to enter a self driving car race called Formula Pi , where we would compete by submitting our code.

What are some ways in which your team connects and collaborates with the wider community?

We are beginning to use our drone to take photos of the school and school activities. Once the snow melts, we have plans to collaborate with the school football team and shoot some video of practices, and maybe some games too. Once we get more comfortable and skilled at drone video, we will also work with the school Yearbook team, leadership and photography class, to provide video footage and photos of various school events.

We are also planning to develop a one week summer camp in August, for Grade 9 students. Our team members would facilitate the building and activities that we have come to be skilled at at our club: Raspberry Pi cars, Lego Robotics, Indoor Drone racing, Building a Rocket with self deploying parachute. The process was started and we are now waiting to hear back from some locations, and insurance details.

 What does your team hope to achieve by the end of this season?

1. Self driving car race – with at least 2 racing cars so that the code can be modified to develop the speed and obstacle avoidance. Code will then be entered into the international Formula Pi competition.

2. Complete the building of several indoor racing drones, and develop the racing drone competition within the club, to hone our flight control skills.

3. Build a water rocket that has a self deploying parachute and attach a data logger with various atmospheric sensors to collect data.

 Where would you like to see your project go in the future?

Bigger and better…..

The self driving car concept could be scaled up. We have discussed using the raspberry pi concept with a larger more powerful platform. Bigger motors, bigger chassis etc.

Drone building. Build an outdoor racing drone. Maybe complete a Drone flying course. Use the drones to capture footage of activities and events.

Using the data logging platform from our rocket and putting them on a weather balloon. Sending the weather balloon up to low orbit!! With camera?

• What is one thing your team appreciates about geekStarter?

Having the support to develop our innovative ideas and an encouraging culture of building electronic projects that connects us with other like minded groups at conferences/workshops. This culture and support focuses our projects so that we can proudly showcase them at the end of year and other community events.