At Bradfield College I started a Computer and Electronics club in which I taught the pupils how to program in Python and install Linux OS’s. I have self-taught over 5 programming languages and have managed to use them in projects and business. For my DT Scholarship at age 12 I built a dynamic steady hand game using a PICAXE with a custom PCB.
At home I have built many radio controlled, GPS equipped multi-rotors to my own design using laser cut, milled and 3D printer parts. I particularly liked finding out how the vehicle stabilised itself using accelerometers and spent many a frustrating hour trying to tune the control system. I started an Engineering Society and introduced fellow students to the concepts of multi-rotors using the knowledge I had gained from my home projects. I obtained a budget from the school to purchase the components for a tri-copter and built up a kit using laser cut parts for students to build their own tri-copter. Incorporating my knowledge of radio controlled systems, I built an autonomous RC robot using wheel chair motors.
The project introduced me to the more formal side of project development including comparing products, evaluating options and documenting development stages. This project extended my knowledge of mechanical design. I am near completion of a 1.6m x 1.2m CNC Router from scratch. This machine should be self-replicating bar some components. I have made contact with a CNC parts supplier in Shenzhen, China who has supplied me with the electronics. During the design and manufacture stages I learnt a lot about stepper motors, serial breakout boards and stepper drivers. I also built my own 1kW, 60V power supply for the CNC, which also allowed me to further increase my knowledge of electronics. I have found the whole project enlightening. I used the first build of the CNC machine to produce higher quality parts that I used to enhance the original design.
Since I was 14 I have taught other young people (aged 9 to 17) technology, ranging from making websites to building laser tag gun kits, at a summer camp “TechCamp”. I gained plenty of experience from TechCamp and started my own company. My first attempt was called Boxiverse, shipping goods from Shenzhen, China. But due to my lack of experience and poor knowledge of the financial side of shipping from China, Boxiverse could not support itself. My second venture is a company called Haxspace (Haxspace.co.uk). The idea is to develop courses and kits to teach children online over video calls or at a summer camp. I developed many kits and courses for my company including a fully laser cut TriCopter Kit, a module to allow laser tag to be played on the TriCopters using a ATMEGA written in C++ and some programming based courses such as Unity Game Design and Python Tkinter.
I hope to run a summer camp at Bradfield College next summer. I have manufactured my own add-on board for the Raspberry Pi to allow high current switching and developed a course around it. I really enjoyed learning about PCB fabrication, especially discussing the process with the manufacturer in China to understand in-depth the steps required to manufacturing PCBs. Most recently with the advancements in affordable accelerometers I built a self-balancing robot. I enjoyed the problem solving needed in this project especially learning the differences between the Kalman filter and the Complementary filter. Robotic engineering encompasses all the subject areas I am passionately interested in: computer science, electronics and building mechanical things. I have explored all of these areas both at school and at home and look forward to a University environment where I can get involved in more demanding and challenging projects and learn from experts in the field.