​New technologies showcased at Young ICT Explorer competition

By Oxygen, a DXC Technology Company on

The emergence of cost effective open-source electronics platforms and virtual reality technologies saw interactive projects to the fore in this year’s Young ICT Explorer (YICTE) competition.

Oxygen personnel once again donated their time as judges for the Victoria region of the SAP-sponsored not-for-profit contest that is open to school children Years 3 to 12.

This year Paul Sipos filled the role of lead judge for years 7-8 category whilst Pat Saundry, supported by Matt Sampias, filled the same role for the years 3-4 category. In this blog post we cover the excellent submissions for the 7-8 category which featured a total of 15 projects. Four criteria were used to assess the projects: creativity and innovation, level of difficulty, quality and completeness, and presentation and communication.

The Young ICT Explorer entries

The winning entry was a virtual reality game, called ‘Infinity’, created by a 13-year-old Boxhill College student, Zach Nichols. Zach had suffered from trauma related bouts of anxiety and depression through his childhood, and created a VR game to depict the challenges he encountered when suffering depression and the ways he helps ward it off.

It was a very brave and compelling presentation that used technology to address a major issue in society. Developed using Unity programming language, the artwork for the VR elements was created by fellow team members Harry Christie and Samuel Edwards. This was a truly inspirational project lead by an extremely mature young man. Lump in the throat stuff.

Second place getters were a team from Haileybury College with their ‘What are we Wasting’ project, which used technology for a social conscience. Integrating Arduino open source scanning technology – to capture height and weight measurements – with web and social media tools, this all-female team developed a way of encouraging better waste and recycle management in the home. The project allowed people to track their food and packaging disposal and match it against benchmarks to encourage improved recycling habits. Uploading the results to social platforms was a clever way of stimulating competition between households to try and improve recycling performance.

Placing third was a team, again from Haileybury College, whose project probably had the best commercialisation potential. Entitled, ‘Penalty Shoot Out’ it was a soccer goal scoring game that tracked the path of a ball through a goal, awarding points to players for accuracy. This project used Arduino scanning technology to record the location of the ball in the goal. The team had a working prototype which linked the scanning technology to a scoreboard to record the points. The long-term goal was to develop a mobile app that could record the real-time data from the scanners and provide an easy means for players to compete amongst themselves. With the global popularity of football, it was easy to see how this game could become very successful.

The YICTE competition is a wonderful platform that nurtures children’s creativity and develops their ability for methodical experimentation. Oxygen looks forward to participating in this stimulating event again next year.