International win for a ‘real-world solution’

BARKER College graduate Oliver Nicholls with the Gordon E Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).
BARKER College graduate Oliver Nicholls with the Gordon E Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF).

Advertising feature

WINNER of the 2018 BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Award and Barker College graduate Oliver Nicholls has taken home the Gordon E Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in May.

The 19 year-old, who graduated last year, secured the win – and US$75,000 – with his fully autonomous robotic window cleaner designed to reduce human injury and decrease the costs of window cleaning on medium-rise commercial buildings.

The small robotic device uses drones, motors and propellers to navigate building facades and clean windows using water and micro-fibre scrubbers. The $2300 device can withstand 28mph winds and could replace traditional methods that can exceed $11,000 per cleaning and reduce injuries in this high-risk occupation.

The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition and attracts 1700 students from 81 countries.

This is the first time that a non-American student has won the grand prize.

This advertising feature is supported by the following schools:

On judging day, each project was allocated four judges – each with a PhD as a minimum requirement and an expert in their field.

Throughout judging day, 19 judges vetted Oliver’s project, drilling him with questions that were highly technical around the nature of his coding, loopings, electronics and interfacing. One of the judges indicated to Oliver that he lived on the 75th floor of a high-rise building and the largest maintenance cost of their building strata was window cleaning.

Oliver’s passion for STEM and robotics allowed him the opportunity to merge engineering with robotics for his HSC Design and Technology major work.

“I used new skills and applied my knowledge to a real world problem by designing and building a robotic window cleaner for high rise buildings,” he said. “It was a big risk taking on such a complex project and I was never sure if I could pull it off until the very end.”

Related